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Malavita: A Novel Paperback – June 25, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143123858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143123859
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #721,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This action-comedy book is all good fun throughout. . . . There are some very funny moments.” —Newsday

“An entertaining summer read.” —Houston Chronicle

“Savagely funny and surprisingly touching.” —The Guardian (London)
 
“A queasily-comic, stylishly-executed romp.” —The Independent (London)
 
“Crime fiction that makes you chuckle is rare, and this is an exceptional example of the species.” —Judges’ citation, Crime Writers’ Association International Dagger Award (finalist)
 
“Hilarious . . . Snappy writing and brisk pacing add up to a comic crime novel Elmore Leonard fans would relish.” —Publishers Weekly
 
“A smart fish-out-of-water conceit . . . The story thrives on absurdities and coincidence, particularly in [one] virtuoso scene.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Tonino Benacquista was born in France in 1961 to Italian immigrants. An acclaimed author of fiction, film scripts, and graphic novels, he won a César (the "French Oscar") in 2006 for the script of Jacques Audiard's The Beat That My Heart Skipped. His novels in English include The Thursday Night Men, Framed, Someone Else, and Holy Smoke. Benacquista lives in France.

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Customer Reviews

If you have seen the movie, the book is just as good, if not better.
Susanne Hajek
Instead it is a terribly boring, fragmented story with virtually no narrative arc - merely vignettes of nasty violence strung together.
EinLA
The writing is fine, but the story has no immediacy and is not memorable.
callmecals

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Cincinnati Kid on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
First off, I have seen the trailer of the movie based on the book, "The Family," which has not yet been released. As in so many other cases, I predict on limited evidence that the book is superior to the film. De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones are excellent actors, but the movie appears to have reduced what is an excellent and unusual book to the Hollywood stereotypes. Good Fellas goes to France. Lots of action and not much meaning. Fun to see if you like that sort of thing, and I will see it, but the book has so much more than casting Don Corleone as a comedian living in retirement in France. Maybe unfair, since I only have the trailer to base this comparison on, but I predict that I am correct.

Focussing on the book, which I did read cover to cover, it is always interesting to read books about America and Americans written by Europeans who don't live here. Kafka's "Amerika"is an example, as is Brecht's weird play, "In the Jungle of Cities." To Benacquista's credit, he gets American folkways, including the Mafia down pretty well. He does put Green Bay in Michigan, and the translator must be an Englishwoman, as there are a number of "blokes" in the story and people are getting "sorted out" and the like. Minor errors however. The text reads easily and smoothly.

The real strength of the book is that the characters have depth. Fred/Giovanni, Maggie/Livia and the kids, Warren and the aptly named Belle think and speak about issues of good and evil, honesty and deceit intelligently and insightfully. Benacquista talks knowledgably about the criminal psyche, and the book shows tellingly what makes and breaks marriages and other relationships between people who do or should love each other, all while telling an interesting story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on September 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
If, like most viewers, you were wondering "what comes next?" after the screen turned black at the end of the last Sopranos episode, you can imagine Malavita as the Sopranos sequel. Unfortunate events forced the Blake family to leave Newark, and then to leave Paris, and then to leave the Cote d'Azur before making their way to a village in Normandy. Along the way they were joined by an Australian Cattle Dog named Malavita. The cause of their journey is not revealed until chapter two, but the reader knows that it has something to do with Fred, "in the days when he was still called Giovanni." Having come into possession of a typewriter, Fred is posing as a writer, a cover story that disturbs both his wife Maggie (who regards her husband as barely literate) and, after Fred decides he should write his memoir, his exasperated FBI handler. The writing exposes Fred's checkered past to the reader while dredging up a sense of vulnerability that Fred has rarely experienced.

The Blakes are a family of sociopaths. Young Warren's ambition is to become a Godfather while his aptly named sister Belle guards her untouchable beauty with violent vigor. Maggie might burn down your house as retribution for a perceived insult, but her French neighbors revere her as a volunteer for charitable causes. Fred is widely regarded as a worldly pack leader, a community protector. Near the story's midpoint, Tonino Benacquista treats the reader to a departure, a series of short stories connected by a school newspaper. The circuitous route traveled by the newspaper turns out to be integral to the plot, but the stories are enjoyable standing alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Zanelotti on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Clever and humerous as well as action packed. They ought to make a movie.....oh wait, they did that already. The end
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By izik on October 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a light, funny story of a man from a mafia world! I love the twist! Can't wait to see it on a movie. Highly Recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Marshall on September 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Hope the movie is as good..going to see it tomorrow. Saw interview with the cast and they all said they had a good time making the movie. Hope they stick to the store...that doesn't always happen.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Victoria M. Pond on August 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Words fail me. I cannot describe how wonderful this book is. It charmed and enchanted me so much that I was annoyed when my husband interrupted my reading to take me out to. Dinner. I haven't felt that way about a book in a long time. The writing is straightforward, brisk, funny, cruel, abrupt, and believable. This is the kind of book that Diane Johnson would write if she could ever match her performance in Le Divorce.

I say this not because I'm so fascinated by the subject matter (I have no interest in mobsters, per se), but because the writing is just so damn good.

My only complaint: the English translation is at times clumsy. An American is quoted as talking about "maths"; no American would ever call the subject anything but "math." A woman is "resigned to him going away so often"; it should be, of course, "she was resigned to HIS going away so often." "Every one of his would be killers were" should, of course, be "every one . . . was." And so on. The English translator seems to lack a basic understanding of English grammar. This problem distracts from otherwise highly polished writing.
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