Mario Puzo was born on Manhattan's West Side in the neighborhood known as Hell's Kitchen. His first books, The Fortunate Pilgrim ("a minor classic" New York Times) and Dark Arena, brought him critical acclaim, but it was the publication of The Godfather in March 1969 that catapulted him into the front ranks of American authors. Reviewers hailed the book as "a staggering triumph" (Saturday Review), "big, turbulent, highly entertaining" (Newsweek), "remarkable" (Look), and "a voyeur's dream, a skillful fantasy of violent personal power" (New York Times). Winning readers by the millions, it stayed at or near the top of the New York Times bestseller lists for sixty-nine weeks. His follow-up novel, Fools Die (1978), was hailed as the publishing event of the decade. Puzo's last novel, Omerta, was finished shortly before his death in 1999.
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.
You can't stop reading it. ("New York" magazine) A staggering triumph. ("The Saturday Review") -You can't stop reading it.- - New York magazine -A staggering triumph.- - The Saturday Review -Utter believability.- - Los Angeles Times "You can't stop reading it." - New York magazine "A staggering triumph." - The Saturday Review "Utter believability." - Los Angeles Times "You can't stop reading it." - New York magazine "A staggering triumph." - The Saturday Review "Utter believability." - Los Angeles Times "You can't stop reading it." - New York magazine "A staggering triumph." - The Saturday Review "Utter believability." - Los Angeles Times "You can''t stop reading it." - New York magazine "A staggering triumph." - The Saturday Review "Utter believability." - Los Angeles Times
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.