This book was published in 1969, and is still probably
the best book ever written on organised crime and the Mafia.
The book is set in America in the 1950’s when crime was
organised in to “families “or “syndicates” and the mafia controlled the real
Set in the period of transition for the Corleone family,
we see Don Corleone –the godfather- at his daughter’s wedding. He is a man of
tradition and family values. Don is “reasonable” and has smoothed out many
disputes amongst Sicilian families and is therefore The Godfather.
Don is nearing the end of his reign and a successor must
be found, someone with the right sense of loyalty and justice. Of the Don’s three sons, it is the
unsuspecting Michael who finds himself in the role of chosen one. Michael’s
transformation from good to bad is quite seamless. It is amazing how Puzo manages to showcase
the mafia as uber sleek with deep Sicilian principles.
The written style with high levels of gruesome violence
is absolutely necessary to illustrate the mafia code. The narrative is gritty
and fast, and the storyline revolves around power and brutality. The narrative
is compelling, and storytelling at its best. Storytelling has always been vital
to the Mafia community.
Each and all of the mafia-type character are colourful in
their own way and oddly enough seem to exist in fantasy inside the family. This
perhaps is one of the reasons the book was so popular- there was an absence of
any moral judgement or verdict, so the reader can draw their own conclusions
about what lengths they would go to for “the family”.
I found this a real joy to read, a kind of “offer you
can’t refuse” in the Don’s words.
Submitted by Paula
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