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Customer Review

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Such a pity it sounded so promising, 14 Mar. 2002
This review is from: The Family (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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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Feb 2008, 17:03:02 GMT
Beth,
Oh, how I agree with you! Such a pity, isn't it, as Puzo's other books are great? I wrote my review before I saw yours, so it appears we are of one mind on this.
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Location: England

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