Thursday, January 09, 2014

Books read in 2014: No. 1 -- The Sicilian

by Mario Puzo

Started: January 1
Finished: January 9

Notes: I thoroughly enjoyed some Puzo reading not so long ago, so I thought I'd drop in on another of his works. This one has connections with The Godfather, apparently containing events involving Michael Corleone during his stay in Siciliy. I love Puzo's writing, especially in his later books, and I'm always interested in The Godfather, so this should be interesting.

Mini review: As always, Puzo does not disappoint. The writing here is top notch, and what's more interesting is that it's all based upon history involving the bandit Salvatore Giuliano who ran rampant in Sicily in the 1940s. If not for the inclusion of Michael Corleone and a few other familiar characters from The Godfather, this novel could have been historical fiction. On top of that, it seems from my recent historical studies that the more romantic and outlandish elements of this tale were actually toned down by Puzo, as the truth was much more intriguing. What I found most useful here, besides the great writing and the great story, was that it gave me all kinds of ideas for my own fiction writing, even allowing me to flesh out and/or reconsider a few future tales I'd been thinking over.

3 comments:

The Wasp said...

I've only read The Godfather and found it an amazing mix of pulp profundity and pulpy awfulness (all the Sonny's penis stuff). I only know The Sicilian from the terrible Lambert movie.

Charles Gramlich said...

Never read anything by Puzo. Someday I need to get to his godfather books

Ty Johnston said...

My favorite Puzo novel is "Fools Die," about gambling and Vegas and, to some extent, the world of book publishing in the 1970s. "The Godfather" is a great book, but I don't think his best. "The Sicilian" is probably not quite as good as "The Godfather," at least as far as the plot goes, but in the end I think the writing is on the same level and the characters are fantastic ... and it's kind of eerie that much of what's written there is true to history. The only Puzo work I've read which I didn't like was his early novel, "Dark Arena," but he's still got several novels I've not gotten to yet.