You know, don’t you? Like the film? No? Alright then. The Don presides over a vast array of networks and family, and through the book navigates the balances of power, warfare and affection that moves around him. Rival gangs fight. People ask for favours. Protection is given. But The Don is old, and his eldest son is only interested in women, the middle isn’t up the the job, and the youngest spurned the Mafia life long ago. With enemies closing in and the centre of power seeming to fail, what will happen to the family business?
I never ever thought I’d read this. I haven’t even seen the film. But when a friend with almost flawless taste recommended it, I had to give it a go. And to my shock, and despite a whole load of things that usually put me off, I really enjoyed this book. It draws you in so cleverly to the world of the Mafia; to their alternate morals and loyalties, to their feuds and family.
One reason I didn’t want to read it was that I thought it was going to be a totally male-centric book. And, it was. More than I thought. The book seemed to subscribe to the Mafia belief that women are there for sex and cooking. There was one female character who was different to this and we saw things from her perspective; but her character arc charted her troublesome journey to being a Mafia wife: left at home and out of any decisions or knowledge. But surprisingly this did not totally put me off, though it did hinder my enjoyment.
Another was, I’ve heard so much about the film but didn’t even know it was a book. Can it be any good? But it so was!
It was fascinating to be immersed in a world where everything works so very differently. We follow the stories of quite a lot of characters: The Don, a couple of his sons, his daughter, and more. They are each interesting, exciting and pacy in turn and I was equally invested – though knowing what was going to happen to the family as a whole was definitely my biggest concern. It was such an interesting portrayal of the world of persuasion, bribery and favours, and so bizarre that it counts everything it does as right rather than criminal.
I only found out after reading the book that there are at least four more! I realised when I failed to come across a famous line from the film that I’d not read (though I’ve not seen the films either…) I think I’m going to have to read the other ones!
So, against my expectation, I find myself recommending this book. I’ll let you know about the others when I read them!
View the book on Amazon: The Godfather
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