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The Family
 
 

The Family [Kindle Edition]

Mario Puzo
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

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Amazon.co.uk Review

The Family is the belated fruit of Mario Puzo's life-long obsession with the Borgias, whom the creator of Don Corleone saw as just another family whose family business happened to involve killing people. He never got round to writing the book until his last months, when he was old and tired and made some unfortunate artistic decisions. This is the sort of old-fashioned historical novel in which the likes of Machiavelli, Da Vinci and Savonarola make momentary walks-on and in which people regularly spend half a page explaining international politics to each other--nonetheless, much of it has an intensity that compels in spite of the stiltedness of much of the dialogue. Puzo and his editor feel that the interesting story is how Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander, created his son Cesare as the dark instrument of his will, and how Lucrezia, the emotional heart of the family, became a woman many remember as saintly in spite of participating fully, even incestuously, in her family's intrigues. The Borgias were not so different from their various rivals--just, for a while, more successful. --Roz Kaveney

Amazon Review

The Family is the belated fruit of Mario Puzo's life-long obsession with the Borgias, whom the creator of Don Corleone saw as just another family whose family business happened to involve killing people. He never got round to writing the book until his last months, when he was old and tired and made some unfortunate artistic decisions. This is the sort of old-fashioned historical novel in which the likes of Machiavelli, Da Vinci and Savonarola make momentary walks-on and in which people regularly spend half a page explaining international politics to each other--nonetheless, much of it has an intensity that compels in spite of the stiltedness of much of the dialogue. Puzo and his editor feel that the interesting story is how Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander, created his son Cesare as the dark instrument of his will, and how Lucrezia, the emotional heart of the family, became a woman many remember as saintly in spite of participating fully, even incestuously, in her family's intrigues. The Borgias were not so different from their various rivals--just, for a while, more successful. --Roz Kaveney

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 703 KB
  • Print Length: 612 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0066213983
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (18 Jan 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4VZAW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,621 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
There is much more story in this book than the number of pages really allows and it has the feel of an unfinished work (which it was).
By no means a bad book, I think one could compare it to say
the silmarillion vs the lord of the rings (different genres, but stick with me).
The Borgias were a lifelong interest perhaps even obsession for Mario Puzo and the intrigue, family politics and abuse of power are themes that he would explore more fully in the Godfather.
As such the Family has a great deal of source material in it, not all of which is fully fleshed out.
It is none the less an intersting read, but it lacks the vital spark that the author might have brought to it had he lived to complete it himself.
In fact so much was going on at this time that it occasionally swamps the characters and that's a pity because in flashes they are portrayed very convincingly. At other times, their deeds and actions become almost a litany and certainly much more like an outline than a finished work (hence the comparison with the simarillion).
For those who are interested, the story is set in the period 1492- 1520 or thereabouts and revolves around the actions of the Borgia Pope (Alexander) and his sons and daughter (Lucrezia).
The church of Rome was (it seems) utterly corrupt at this time and its leaders involved in the pursuit of earthly power and pleasure. This leads to wars, murders, torture and all manner of ill-deeds.
Overall well worth a read, particularly if you are interested in the history of the period.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Such a pity it sounded so promising 14 Mar 2002
Format:Hardcover
According to the afterword Mario Puzo was fascinated by 15th century Italy. This was his last novel, it was a 'labour of love two decades in the making' which he never quite finished. It's all the more tragic then that this is a novel that some how never quite works.
It's not surprising that the
ghosts of the Corleones stalk these pages since the similarities between the Borgias and the great Mafia dynasties is the most succesful aspect of the book, but sometimes the parallels are not just painfully obvious they are laboured.
If as L. P. Hartley says, "The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there," then the task of a good historical novel is to open the door to that far place. Allowing the reader to explore not just places but modes of thoughts and social structures that were commonplace then but very different now. This book did not do that for me. I have not felt the sunshine of renaissance Italy on my back, nor wondered at the forces that made artists like Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci exciting and revolutionary which ultimately changed our world view. The Borgias sit at the crux of one of the most world shaking times yet for the most part there is a plodding quality which makes this read more like a text book than the poison soaked, morality challenging, scandal ridden story of one of the most controversial families in world history.
It's doubly sad because I anticipated so much more from this author on this subject. This is a good book that could and should have been great.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment 11 Sep 2004
Format:Paperback
This was the fifth Puzo book I read and I approached this novel with enthusiasm. The first 150 or so pages were very dull, but regardless of this, I carried on reading. This was becoming increasingly difficult to do because I found that the entire novel was extremely dull.
I also felt that Mario Puzo tried to change his style of writing with this book. I found that in reading "The Godfather," "The Sicilian," and "Omerta" Puzo developed his own style. With this novel, he changed it, so therefore, the author was pretty much unrecognizable.
But I would say that the characters were complex and engaging, and from what I found out, the historical evidence seemed to be very good.
In conclusion, I thought that the story was unengaging and dull, yet historically and charactiristically, it was very good. If you are looking for a purely Puzo read, you will be disappointed. I'm not saying avoid this at all costs, I'm just saying don't go out of your way to buy it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars not Godfather 11 Jun 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mario Puzo is one of my favourite authors and in this book you can see some of his flair. However, having read all his books, I can see distinctly when he stops and when Gino starts.

I bought the book because of Puzo without reading reviews, hoping that it would be another crime thriller, and it was, but set a few centuries ago in Renaissance Italy.

Because of this book, i started reading much more about the Popes, who of course are fascinating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A story like no other 15 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A great read, delving into one of the most intriguing families ever known. Written by one of the great storytellers, I recommend this to anyone who wants to learn what power and the hunger for it can make you do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!!!!!! 8 Mar 2013
By Sanulia
Format:Kindle Edition
Different insight into this notorious family. Very fascinating! Highly recommend to read!!! Historical and psychological book about the very beginning of Mafia.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hmmmmm 3 Jun 2009
Format:Paperback
Starts well but as it progresses the whole premise on which it is built seems more and more unbelievable. Its a well written, well researched novel but I felt I was ploughing through it at the end.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Incestuous...Iniquitous...Intriguing 21 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback
This was only my second Mario Puzo, my first being the Godfather (the mother of all mafia books!). I was concerned that it would not compare, but I was pleasantly surprised. What an epic!

Puzo demonstrates in The Family the origins of the Mafia and tells the story of Cardinal Rogrigo Borgia, who later became Pope Alexander VI, and his famous, or rather infamous family. How much of the story is historical fact and how much is fiction, I couldn't comment. However, Puzo had a love Renaissance Italy and the Borgias, so no doubt a significant amount of research went into the book. The book contains all the elements of a Mafia saga - a ruthless, power hungry Don, instilling in his children the importance and the ultimate preservation of the "Family" over everything. Parallels can be drawn with New York - the 5 Papal states all being controlled by different Families. This novel tells the story of Pope Alexander's ruthless quest to unite the Papal states, at any cost.

We've all heard the names...Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Machiavelli, the Medici, the Orsini, Lucrezia Borgia...but I wasn't aware that they were all linked in this rich, fantastic period of history. This book has made me want to learn more about Italy and the renaissance period. The portrayal of Lucrezia is somewhat sympathetic and in contrast to the legend surrounding her, unless her reputation as a heartless murderess came from later in her life, or if indeed it is more legend than anything. She was also reported to have committed incest with both her brother and father. In the Family, it is just with her brother. Again, you wonder whether this is due to a fondness for her rather than historical accuracy.

Despite this, I would highly recommend this book. Its a richly detailed work from a man clearly in love with his subject matter. It gives interesting insights into the politics in Italy at that time and, whether true or not, is a great mafia story!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrendous!
This is the story of one of the most (in)famous families of all times - the Borgias.
The father of the family, Rodrigo Borgia, the Spaniard who has become a Pope of Rome,... Read more
Published 10 months ago by ereini0n
3.0 out of 5 stars The Borgia Mafia
I've been fascinated by Cesarean Borgia and his family since adolescence. My favourite source is Rafael Sabatini. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Beric Norman
4.0 out of 5 stars historical novel about the Borgias.
Gripped me from the start and continues to do so. Catalogue's the intrigues of a powerful, political but corrupt family during the middle ages.
Published 12 months ago by david appleton
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books that I've ever read!
It is thoroughly entertaining and clarified a lot of facts that I did not understand after watching 'The Borgias' on Sky Atlantic.
Published 14 months ago by Holly
5.0 out of 5 stars good
Good book. Please recommended to anyone who like Mario puzo, writing ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Published 15 months ago by A. Darman
2.0 out of 5 stars Too much telling, not showing.
Initially found this interesting and fascinating, but about a quarter of the way in Puzo starts to tell names and places and events really swiftly and I couldn't picture anything... Read more
Published 16 months ago by TreasureChest
1.0 out of 5 stars Hot and hilarious
Let's begin with Mario Puzo's THE FAMILY. Puzo has had a life-long passion for the Borgias, as have I. His book is both hilarious and hot. Take Astorre Manfredi. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Boyd Hone
2.0 out of 5 stars a weird book
The Family A pleasant and amusing enough book, however, it is very strange reading about a noble renaissance family calling each other by abbreviated names. Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2011 by Veronica Franco
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