To open the New Year I am picking a book extraordinaire. I believe an average reader of my post has read the American all time classic entitled The Godfather by Mario Puzo. The book is, without any protest whatsoever, the peak of modern fiction in mainstream American literary scene; its popularity reaching the four corners of the world. The first book to glamorize and explore the concept of Organized Crime Syndicate, otherwise called Mafia or Costra Nostra; Mario Puzo left us a book of immense greatness and unrivaled artistry.
The Godfather opened with an instructive epigraph by Balzac that ‘behind every great wealth, there is a crime’ which foreshadowed the chronicle of the life of the Corleones. The patriarch of the Corleone family, Don Vito Andolini Corleone, originally called the Godfather, is an astute businessman with political connection and brutal enforcement network that earned him respect among his people and associates. The story of The Godfather is about this infamous character; his family, dealings, rising and continuity of his empire by his last son, Michael Corleone.
I love the book for many reasons. First it is a classic and a genre setter. Before The Godfather, there was no book like it in construction and theme in American literature. I so love the way Mario Puzo, an Italian-American novelist, explored the colorful and fatal culture of Sicily, a quaint town in Italy where the Don was born and the town in which Michael sought refuge after he killed his father’s enemy, saving the empire from takeover. His depiction of love at first sight called “thunderbolt” when Michael met his virginal bride in Sicily still give me the waves till today. I am ever in awe of Francis Copolla’s incredible vignette in capturing this scene in the movie of adaptation of the book. If you have not seen the movie The Godfather (Have you been living on Planet Earth?), please go and check it out.
The Godfather is also a classic in its masterful depiction of twisted capitalism in post WWII America. While the nation rebuilt the world, ravaged by war and displacement, these Italian-American concurrently set up their own underground skyscrapers in New York; feeding the dark soul of the cities with vices of all sorts, making money from trading in the Devil’s market. Mario Puzo used his genius to create this world eternally on paper for our entertainment, education and heritage. I doff my hat to this immortal scribe.
Happy New Year!!!
Author, Teacher, Naughty-Girl