Mario Puzo’s The Godfather

Mario Puzo was born in Manhattan and after servicing in the army in World War II, he attended Columbia University.

Following two critically acclaimed novels, Puzo wrote The Godfather, undisputedly his best known novel. The book, in all its uniqueness, dwells into the making of the American Mafia and the bloody saga of the clash between the Mafia families. It is the story of the transformation of a simple Sicilian boy into the most influential and the most intimidating man in all of America.  It is also the tale of others like him, who exercise similar control but never become as great as him.

Vito Corleone, the Godfather, never refuses. He values friendship as the greatest virtue and goes to all lengths to solve problems of those who pledge their friendship to him. He is a man of cold logic and pure reason. A man who threatens, simply reasons with you according to his own logic and yet his reasonable argument is more chilling than any direct threat could ever prove to be.

He’s amongst the richest and the most resourceful and had contacts at the right places. Don Vito Corleone, as people respectfully address him, is an old fashioned Italian man, who has brings up a family and four kids- his sons, Sonny, Freddo, and Michael, and his favourite, his daughter Connie.

Connie is married off to a man whose loyalties are yet to be put to the test. Though Sonny and Freddo are their father’s sons, it seems, Michael has some differences with his father. Sonny Corleone is hot tempered but has a kind heart and logical mind and is already an asset to the Family Business. Freddo is an obedient son. But Michael chooses to do his own thing.

In the meanwhile, the Don is contemplating which son has the right personality, and the right mind  to be his successor. However, as has been said, “behind every great fortune, there’s a crime”. So there are crimes because there are others out there trying to make a fortune.

The plot unfolds at breakneck speed, one unexpected event leading to another. With the great Don himself out of action, the responsibility falls on the sons to keep at bay those trying to harm the Family and maintain its reputation. In such a family crisis, can Michael still choose to turn a blind eye on them?  Actions of each son make the choice of the successor very clear in the Don’s head.

But first, the rivals are eliminated and the position of the family is secured. At times like these, the “friends” of the family, those upon whom the Don has bestowed favours, are called upon, for its payback time. Traitors are sieved out of the empire and the loyal rewarded, and then revenge becomes inevitable.

Sonali Gupta