Seth's Reviews > The Godfather Returns

The Godfather Returns by Mark Winegardner
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's review
May 04, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: read-twice
Read in October, 2007

Two or three years after the passing of Mario Puzo, the authors estate which retained the rights to his "Godfather" characters (for purposes of published work) bestowed on Mark Winegardner the awesome responsibility and priviledge to have the opportunity to write legal fan fiction to follow in the footsteps of one of the most classic novels of the twentieth century. It is not a duty that Winegardner by no means took lightly...

He carefully crafted a timeline for two sequels to take place during the gaps left between the first movie and the second. And then a second novel to be set between the second movie and the third. Going into this novel "Returns" the reader can't really be sure what they are going to get in terms of writing content. Winegardner elects to use quite a few pages to recount events from the original novel through the unaware voices of other characters in 1950's America. The grief that I have with these flashbacks is that when this novel was published 30 years after the godfather 2 movie, i would believe it would be rightful to assume that the reader remembers these events as clearly as they remember the birth of their own children and to recap them is flat out redundant. The reader may have read the book more than once, but undoubtedly has seen the movie at least 3 times over the course of 30 years. Inevitably some readers out there may have viewed the movie 30 time in 10 years (we know what happened... you don't need to waste time recounting)

But with that aside, Winegardner had a couple of strengths in this novel, he attempts to emulate Mario Puzo's style in some places which is greatly appreciated, and he also insures to bring back the obscure characters from the novel who either were not shown in the godfather films, or were of limited story when shown. Winegardner brings back Johnny Fontane, his physician the abortionist, and a few others. He builds stories around the other members of the "commision" from around the nation, mentioned only in passing by Puzo in his original novel and same to be said of Brando's introduction of them in the film. Much of Winegardner's development is used behind the later life of Sonny Corleone's twin daughters who appear visually in all three movies but never really had any lines. The author appeared afraid or unsure of how to write the character of Connie Coreleone in this novel, and at some points a reader may feel he took too much "liberty" in developing his own dialogue and actions for the characters of Fredo and Tom Hagen.

Winegardner didn't have a lot of space to work with in this novel to fit his blueprints of going between the first two godfather films without writing for the movie characters like "roth and Ola and fellegi" Instead he creates some characters of his own, but is forced to cookie cutter wrap them up so that it makes sense why none of them ever show up visually in the godfather part 2 movie. Anybody who enjoyed the godfather book and movies should read this book, but how much literary value it holds is really up to the individual. I thought this novel had a couple of pretty memorable well written events. In the tradition of the original godfather novel which had contained several chapters detailing the younger years of Vito Corleone, (as illustrated by the De Niro scenes in the G-2 movie) Winegardner holds to the tradition by writing chapters detailing Michael Corleone's youth in the Bronx and also his war experiences in the pacific. Obviously Hollywood is never going to make a movie of this book but i for one would be willing to pay a few bucks to watch an animated version of this book using the animation that was used in the godfather video games. (I mean this with the utmost sincerity)

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Reading Progress

03/16/2014 marked as: currently-reading
03/16/2014 page 1
0.0% "When I read this book seven years ago, i thought it was ok. A couple years later I read its sequel and liked that enough to make it a point to give this story a second chance. Time for a re-reading."
05/04/2014 marked as: read
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