After years of holding it in my collection, I have finally read it. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. I have not seen the movie – so it was my first encounter with the story and characters of this story, except for one thing that everyone knows about it that it was about “Mafia”.
On reading the first few pages my reaction was like this – its better off being the story of a movie; I do not like reading a book like this. But then I have to accept that I probably have read the book 30 years too late. After all, the movie was a legend of this genre and since then so many of them have tried to copy it. It isn’t the fault of the book that the plot has got associated with the movies in my mind. In novels you see normal people who can go on extremely anti-social paths owing to circumstances. The helpless chap becoming a mafia is something you see only in movies. In novels, he just dies or ends up taking petty little bribes. Okay, that’s a exaggerated simplification, but you get the point, don’t you? 😀
Now about the characters and stories. The best way I can describe the feeling I got while reading the novel is through some of the (simplistic) assumptions several economic and strategic theories make. One of this is something like the following –
There are two entities in the world. Myself and the competitor. I am rational. The competitor is rational. I know that the competitor is rational. The competitor knows that I am rational. So, each of us plan our rational move taking into account the rationality of the other. In this world, every thing can be deduced from some universal truths (read assumptions!!).
It is like that in this story. If you strictly believe it, the mafia world seems so simple.
They both knew that whoever in the Corleone Family had made the contact had turned traitor.
He was surprised at how clearly he could think. He recalled everything he knew about Fanucci. He remembered…. He remembered… And suddenly he was sure that Fanucci had no great connections, could not possibly have. Not a man who informed to the police. Not a man who allowed his vengeance to be bought off.
And of course, they were right on both these counts, like on several others 🙂
But yes, it has lot many stories. Different stories with different characters. It does not have repetitiveness. It does not bore. On the contrary, in terms of entertainment, it holds you with interesting twists and turns. And yeah, if all this Sicilian descent of Mafia in US is real, I am getting more interested in the country. No, no do not get me wrong 😉