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Publisher's Summary

Before The Godfather and The Last Don, Mario Puzo wrote The Fortunate Pilgrim, a novel many believe to be one of the classics of Italian-American fiction. In this special edition, Mario Puzo's legions of fans will discover a different side of this legendary author, writing for the first time about an Italian family in which a woman holds the power.

Lucia Santa has traveled 3,000 miles of dark ocean, from the mountain farms of Italy to the streets of New York, hoping for a better life. Instead, she finds herself in Hell's Kitchen, in a bad marriage, raising six children on her own. As Lucia struggles to hold her family together, her daughter confronts the adult world of work and romance while her eldest son is drawn into the Mafia. Meanwhile, her youngest son aspires to American pursuits she cannot understand.
©2004 Mario Puzo; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Puzo has called this 1965 pre-Godfather novel his personal favorite of his oeuvre.....This 'very colorful and perceptive novel' remains 'highly readable' for today's audience." (Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Story

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Puzo's Best

Any additional comments?

If you are an Italian-American of a certain age, this story resonates with bits and pieces of history and culture you've heard your whole life. A premiere storyteller, who brings every character to life with a vibrant honesty and recognition of the human condition. I was a little disappointed with the narrator's "Italian" accent; I think this would have been improved by authenticity in that department.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

excellent book & more so for the narrator

this book is just amazing, funny & truly charming..i listen to a great deal of audio & i can not imagine this book read by another narrator.


22 of 24 people found this review helpful

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must read

Mario Puzo's hidden jewel. must read. the story is timeless and much more relatable in today's world

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Excellently written and vastly entertaining

Not as well-known as the blockbuster Godfather series but memorable well-written well developed characters that speak to the immigrant experience. I saw and felt my own Italian immigrant story in this book. Highly recommended.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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Wonderful, amazing, must read/listen!!! obsessed!

So beautifully written. Brings every emotion possible out in the best way possible. Must read!

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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It was ok

Maybe my experience rations were too high considering he was the author of The Godfather

13 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Fortunate reader

Mario Puzo's second novel, really a novella, is rich with the sights, sounds, & smells of the immigrant Italian experience in New York in early 20th Century. The stories echo those that my mother would tell of her similar experience in Boston. The people are simple and complicated at the same time. The book is less a narrative than a series of vignettes of Italian life. It felt like home.AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

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Gripping Pre-WW2 Italian-American Saga

Mario Puzo dedicates this story to his mother. He realized that all the detail of the story came from living with her. All the interactions both in the family and in the neighborhood were revealed day-by-day from conversations and interactions with his mother. We think this rings true as the story centers around an Italian mother living in a pre-WW2 U.S. East Coast tenement trying to find a better life for herself and her family.

The detail of this story puts you right there. You can feel all the emotions felt by Lucia Santa as she tries to make sense of life. You will laugh. You will cry. You will learn what life was like in Hell's Kitchen.

For reference, I found the book reminding me of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"; except Puzo's book is an Italian-version of the human condition a few decades later.

We highly recommend the audio version of this book. My wife and I agreed that it would have been tough read and one would have lost many of the nuances intended in the story. Even with the audio, it takes a bit of time to develop an ear for the Italian names and determine who the players are. But, it is well worth the effort.

We highly recommend this book.

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Unusual perspective

It took a little while to get into this book- I kept waiting for something to happen. But when I got used to the style, I enjoyed it. Orms almost entirely narrative- someone telling a story, but with very little actual dialogue. These days, a story has dialogue. Whereas this is almost entirely from the perspective of an observer. Still really interesting. From the description, I expected the female characters to be heroic, but I'd describe them as the ultimate survivors.

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Everything you would expect from Puzo

Mario Puzo says in the intro that this was his favorite book. After listening to it, I believe him and understand why. The book deals with Italian immigrant struggleds in pre WW2 New York. The mother is the central character of the book, and I have to believe it was how Mario saw his own "Ma".

The performance was great and the book flowed well from start to finish. At the end I felt like I new the entire family, and I wanted them to invite me over for dinner. I highly recommend The Fortunate Pilgrim.