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The Godfather. Mario Puzo


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'As for fiction, there can only be one choice - The Godfather' The Times

About the Author

Mario Puzo was born in New York. He is the author of the bestselling novel The Godfather and many other acclaimed novels. Puzo also wrote many screenplays, including those for the three Godfather movies, for which he won two academy awards. He died at his home in Long Island, New York, at the age of seventy-eight.


Puzo's 1969 potboiler and the 1972 Oscar-winning film version caused the popular definition of godfather to change from "surrogate parent" to "criminal leader." Title character Don Vito Corleone is patriarch of the most powerful of the five New York crime families. He takes complete care of his people, who in return obey him implicitly. Although laced with sex, brutal murders, and other crimes and violence, this is far from a pulp novel. Puzo tells a complicated story about the relationships among the Corleones and their interactions with the outside world. VERDICT Actor Joe Mantegna provides a fine reading, even though his version of Vito's voice sometimes sounds like a bad Marlon Brando imitation (although they are so connected, it's probably impossible not to inflect Brando when channeling Vito). Recommended for all those who appreciate thrillers with social commentary and psychological insights. Devotees of the film also will find more character development and plotting.-I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

The deck's stacked against this audio adaptation of the novel that inspired one of the most acclaimed feature films of all time. The powerful visual imagery at the end of Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation of Puzo's novel-the alternating between a baptism and coordinated hits on rival mob bosses-is so indelible that any other depiction must suffer in comparison. Hearing any narrator read that a character "put three bullets" in another's chest just can't hold a candle to seeing it, at least as Coppola filmed the scene. Ditto for the shocker when a certain animal head turns up in a certain character's bed. However, that's not to say that narrator Joe Mantegna's reading is at fault. Turning in compelling and nuanced performance, Mantegna's gravelly-voiced Don Corleone is close enough to Marlon Brando's not to jar, and the narrator (who appeared in The Godfather: Part III) also pulls off female voices effectively. More notably, despite his decades of voicing a parodistic mobster on The Simpsons, Mantegna's use of different accents and modes of speech insures that his characterizations never come across as stereotypical. A Signet paperback. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

The narrative bowls along... to keep readers turning pages all the way to an explosive showdown. * Daily Mail *
Here is all the classic material of Mafia mythology... spins a spell all its own * The Times *
The Godfather, one of the most entertaining and absorbing popular novels of the postwar period... Puzo's masterpiece -- Robert McCrum * Observer *
A splendid and distinguished blood saga of the Cosa Nostra, the American Mafia, and of the whirl created by five families of mafiosi at war in New York * Sunday Times *
Puzo's genius was to create a world so thick with personality and acknowledged rules of behaviour, along with its crime and violence, that reading his books becomes a seriously guilty pleasure * New York Post *

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