Sunday, 5 May 2013

''The Godfather''- Book review

Author: Mario Puzo
Published: 1969

Genres: Novel, Crime, Mystery

Rating: 5 out of 5


Mario Puzo's ''The Godfather'' gives a vivid portrait of a Sicilian Mafia family, the family structure, and the relations of the families with each other, the unrest and enmity that rises among the families. ''The Godfather'' is an engrossing and powerful novel about this subject matter. It is a book to be read with concentration. It took me days to finish reading this book because I took time to understand all the matters discussed in the novel. It was a novel that was engrossing and slightly difficult to read at the same time; difficult, because the subject matter is to be understood, the background of the characters needs to be understood to form a complete portrait of them (i.e., the characters).

Don Vito Corleone is the head of the powerful Corleone family. His influence, his power, has earned him respect from all around. At the same time, despite of the things he does, he is a ''reasonable'', a calm man. The book starts with descriptions of several people who have been wronged or who are in trouble, and for justice and solution for their problems, they think that they should see Don Corleone. At the wedding party of the Don's daughter Connie, these men come to the Don with requests and Don promises to give them justice. His godson, famous singer/actor Johnny Fontane, desperately wants a role in a film, and the producer violently is refusing to give the role to him. However, the Don makes the producer agree in such a way that we come to realize how violent the Don is.

The Don has three sons: hot-tempered Santino  (Sonny), timid and irresponsible Frederico (Fredo), and the charming Michael (Mike), who doesn't want to get himself involved with the family business. The peaceful environment is destroyed, and things start to change when the Don refuses to get involved in a drug business, and an attempt is then made to murder him, and unrest and turmoil rises among the families, leading to deaths of family members, mistrusts, and betrayals, and discoveries. 

The book had a power in it. Along with the vivid descriptions of the background of Mafia, Mafia terms, family structure, it had backgrounds of even some of the minor characters, which enables the reader to form a vivid and clear portrait about the characters. Mario Puzo developed the characters excellently. Many of the characters got unexpected significance. My favorite characters from the book are quite a few: Michael, Kay, Hagen, Johnny, Lucy. Especially, I really like the character Kay; both in this novel and the famous movie based on the novel, Kay, Michael's American girlfriend and later wife, is given a very strong characterization, making her one of the most memorable characters in the novel. Michael is notable as well, from his role as the timid and intelligent son, to his becoming skilled in the family business. Johnny Fontane's character was given an unexpected significance, and I liked it, very much. The characters' background were interesting, all of the characters were interesting. This characterization is one of the things making this book so excellent.

I have seen all three films of the Godfather Trilogy, and loved them (all three films are reviewed in my movie review blog). The entire novel is the basis of the first film of the trilogy. Some parts of the film had been confusing; the book helped me to understand all those confusing parts of the film.

Overall, The Godfather was a powerful and vivid read, a memorable, excellent reading experience. Excellently-written novel that I may reread someday.

5 out of 5!


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