If ever there was a book that could make me break my rule of sticking to reviewing lesser known amazing books, it is ‘The Godfather’.
I re-read the book yesterday and I thought-‘To hell with it. I simply have to write about this book.’ Be warned that this post is not exactly a review. To be accurate, this post will involve me gushing over the sheer awesomeness of the book and its author. This is my ultimate fan-girl moment.
I had seen the movies much before I read the books. And I can only say that it tremendously enhanced my reading experience. Why? Because this was one of the few times when the movie stayed very close to the book. I had prepared myself for an extremely different book version and boy was I pleasantly surprised when I found out I had been worrying unduly!
The book itself is a classic. It is a reference standard today and will likely remain so for a long time hence.’The Godfather’ arrived as a bolt from the blue, blazing its way to the top of bestseller lists. It was exciting, ruthless, and way ahead of its time. Revolving around the fictitious Corleone Family, one of the Five Mafia Families of New York, the book traces the life of Don Vito Corleone, who painstakingly builds his empire through sheer genius. Arriving as an immigrant to New York, the book details the various challenges, trials and tribulations the Corleone family faces through the years 1945-1955. When the Don is grievously injured after being shot, it is a tough time for the family. His sons, Santino and Michael Corleone are now in charge of the Family affairs. Can they rise to the challenge? Are they capable of filling the shoes of the legend their father is? The back story of how Vito Corleone rose to become a Don is also covered in the novel.
What can I say about this novel? It is, without a doubt, the best book ever written on organised crime and the Mafia Families. It is cold, chilling, exact and addictive. The story line is so taut and engrossing that I absolutely cannot find words to describe my sense of helplessness when I finished the book. It was as if nothing mattered anymore. Sigh.
The sequel to the book written by Mario Puzo covers a period in the prequel when Michael Corleone lives in hiding in Sicily to the time he comes back to the U.S. It revolves around the life of the real life Sicilian bandit, Salvatore Giuliano, with the fictitious Corleone family’s story interwoven into it.
Sequels for ‘The Godfather’ itself were not written by Mario Puzo himself. They were written by Mark Winegardner, titled ‘The Godfather Returns’ and ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’, and were released in 2004 and 2006 respectively.
All hail Mario Puzo.
The film versions, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, were extremely worthy productions and are widely considered the best films ever. The first movie won three Academy awards while The Godfather II won six.
The Godfather Part III was released in 1990 and serves as an epilogue. It lacked the brilliance of its predecessors and was a minor success.