Friday, June 1, 2012

The Godfather, by Mario Puzo

cannot believe I hadn't put this higher up on my reading list. three days of spellbound misery (read: pure enthrallment) later, I'm itching to get my hands on the film trilogy...

irony, capitalism, and crime - three images this saga brings to bear. if agatha christie had an italian son, his name would be mario puzo.

not unlike the dear friends of the don in this novel, who couldn't bear turn away from their godfather, readers will not be able to turn away from the page.

from robin hood to the western cowboy to the "godfather"-led mafioso, this novel marks a turn in american pop culture. out of the wit of puzo comes a new rogue hero. a criminal in the legal sense yet still a man of principle - who knows what he believes in, what he does not, and is steadfast to his word.

many a second generation immigrant can identify with his own michael corleone within - of wanting to break from traditional ties to the homeland and becoming thoroughly american, of striving to be accepted and respected in upper echelon society, of building a foundation for his offspring such that they would never have to face the same hardships of their forebears.

while the story is an obvious commentary on capitalism as much as it is a narrative about underworld crime, what's most curious is its own ironic trajectory. that it quickly rose to acclaim and ultimately became an icon in american life and literature is something its author perhaps did not intend. (or perhaps that was woven into the outcome all along, who knows?) but for the don and his consigliere, puzo and his audience, the message is clear - reason is, and has always been, the engine. friends and family, the power behind its construction.

Rating: 5 / 5

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