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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

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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.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • bethany
  • SALEM, NH, United States
  • 12-22-10

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.


23 of 26 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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So-so

In the foreword, the author, Mario Puzo, says this is his favorite of all the books he wrote, inspired as it was by his mother. Since Puzo also wrote The Godfather, an excellent book (better than the movie version, which says a lot), I anticipated that The Fortunate Pilgrim would be wonderful. It may be so to Mr. Puzo and to other readers, but I did not like it. I stopped listening after four chapters. I can’t get into Puzo’s descriptions of early 1900’s immigrant family life, which comes across as loud and controlling and dysfunctional, featuring corporal punishment of children and women holding court on the stoops of their tenements, sitting in judgement of each other. Life may very well have been like this for the people of the time, but I found little charm in rehashing their angst. As for the narrator, he did an acceptable job, perhaps a good effort, but not one I could evaluate fairly given my dislike of the material.

1 of 1 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

14 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Puzo's best

His most moving and human work. Though his least popular book,this story of his mother's inmigration and life chasing an american dream is truely a masterpiece

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Italian Immigrant Historical Fiction

Like pretty much the rest of the world, I have seen the Godfather movies multiple times, but this is the first book written by Mario Puzo that I've listened to. It was beautifully written, and clearly material close to Mr. Puzo's heart. Narration by John Kenneth was spot on...a wonderful choice for this book.
This book is an homage to Mr. Puzo's mother and I believe, based on their lives in Hell's Kitchen as Italian immigrants (the children were born here; the mother was the immigrant). It follows their story for a span of about 40 years.
Mario Puzo's talent for descriptive writing almost made me smell the panetteria, the freight cars and the hot July streets. I could almost taste the crusty bread and pasta fagioli. I felt like I was running the streets with Gino or that my heart was breaking with Lucia Santa.
From what I understand, this was Mario Puzo's second book, and didn't do nearly as well as The Godfather. I feel this book is a classic and an amazing portrayal of early immigrant life in New York City. I have a new admiration and respect for Mario Puzo after listening to this book.

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loved this story

a great American family story, good characters, great emotional drama. narrative was a bit monotone.