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The Fortunate Pilgrim Hardcover – March 25, 1997


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 283 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st Random House, Inc. ed edition (March 25, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067945778X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679457787
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #978,101 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Puzo has called this 1965 pre-Godfather novel his personal favorite of his oeuvre. It recounts the life of Lucia Santa Angeluzzi-Corbo, a Southern Italian immigrant who settles in New York in the 1920s. This "very colorful and perceptive novel" remains "highly readable" for today's audience (LJ 3/15/65).
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"I began reading The Fortunate Pilgrim yesterday afternoon and didn't stop reading until I had finished it." -- Joseph Heller "Puzo has written a chronicle of Italian immigrant life which is a small classic- The novel is lifted into literature by its highly charged language, its penetrating insights and its mixture of tenderness and rage." New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
49
4 star
22
3 star
9
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See all 80 customer reviews
As for the character exploration, it is very simply magnificent.
Anne Rice
Mario Puzo took the everyday life of an ordinary Italian immigrant family and turned it into a masterpiece!
Carla A. Diplacido
This a a book that can't help but to make you think about what is really important in life.
William Steck

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Carla A. Diplacido on February 29, 2000
Format: Paperback
Mario Puzo took the everyday life of an ordinary Italian immigrant family and turned it into a masterpiece! A treat for the reader. By the end of the book I felt like I know this family personally. His character depth is amazing. After reading this book I have a much better understanding of what my own grandparents went through when they came over from Italy. Living in today's world filled with conveniences, we tend to forget the struggles of the generations before us. I recommend this book to readers of all ages.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Anne Rice on June 17, 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I don't know where to start. I've read "The Godfather" perhaps five times, yet it has taken me decades to pick up "The Fortunate Pilgrim." And what was the result? One of the most beautiful and quietly thrilling reading experiences I've ever had. I've always thought Puzo was an underrated writer, and bristled when he was casually insulted or referred to as a writer of pulp. "The Godfather" is in fact a great novel. But this gem, "The Fortunate Pilgrim" surpassed all my expectations. The writing is very simply poetic and masterly throughout. The style is gorgeously cinematic and seems to reflect the powerful vision of a boy growing up in Hell's Kitchen in New York who truly saw beauty all around him and who let it flood his heart. As I read this book, his vision of that beauty flooded mine. As for the character exploration, it is very simply magnificent. So deep does this novel go into the psyche of the women of this early twentieth century Italian immigrant family that it is nearly impossible to believe that a man wrote this, that he could open his mind and soul so totally to what these female characters suffered and saw and learned and knew. The male characters are no less exquisitely realized. And the world these people inhabited, with their disappointments, losses, hopes and dreams is here captured forever in these pages with exquisite and perfect skill. Over and over I underlined passages and phrases. Over and over I scribbled vocabulary in the back of the book. Such an achievement. --------- I have few regrets about my life but I will always regret that I never met Mario Puzo, that I never encountered him just for a few minutes at a bookstore so that I could tell him what "The Godfather" meant to me as a young writer. And now I miss the guy with all my heart. --- And I miss his generation and all that they witnessed and knew. How grateful I am that he gave us this small, perfect story, so carefully and lovingly crafted for all time.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Loren D. Morrison on June 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Mario Puzo feels that this novel, written before THE GODFATHER or any of his more popular novels, is superior to them all. In a creative sense, THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM is the parent, and the rest of his books are the offspring.
In the hands of someone like Puzo, the creative process is a wonderful thing to observe. He relates how he set out to write a novel in which he was the hero and the rest of his family were villains who wanted to stifle his writing career; and how, stalwart young man that he was, he succeeded in spite of them and the stumbling blocks they placed in his path. He was unable to write this version of his life, not even as fiction. Truth and the memory of the strength of the woman who reared him wouldn't allow him to deny the impact she had on his life.
Puzo wrote, but not what he had planned, or even what he thought he was writing. At some point he realized that the book wasn't about himself. It was about his mother. THE FORTUNATE PILGRIM's Lucia Santa is the personification of Puzo's mother and this book is her book as surely as if she'd written it herself.
When we read about Lucia Santa's life in Hell's Kitchen, a single mother as we would call her today, as she raises six children, we are constantly amazed at her strength.
Her oldest son becomes a Mafia Union Organizer (read strong arm man and collector of "protection" money) against her will. But Lucia Santa prevails.
Her daughter spends six months in a sanitorium for her lungs and comes home too assimilated for Lucia Santa's taste. But Lucia Santa prevails.
One of her sons commits suicide. But Lucia Santa prevails.
One tragedy follows on the heels of another. But Lucia Santa prevails.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
AFter being introduced to the work of the late Mario Puzo by "The Godfather," I was eager to read to another of his works. I had high expectations but did not believe another novel could surpass his most notable and popular book.
"The Fortunate Pilgrim" will forever be the book I think of when I hear and think of Mario Puzo. Just like the quote on the book states, it seems as though he labored over each and every sentence. The story unfolds with each hardship faced by the Angeluzzi-Corbo family, and the strength of it's leader Lucia Santa.
I recommend this book to anyone. The unlikely heroine will forever be engrained in the reader's memory and leave one with a surprising new respect for their own mother as well as Mario Puzo's.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. Lomonaco on September 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
Puzo really takes you back to pre-war "Hells Kitchen". His descriptions are vivid and engaging. Like many of his other books, this one is about family. The reader is shown a struggling mother and her children over a 20 year period. The two female characters (mother and oldest daughter) are truly heroic. It is by their there virtue and perseverance thatt this family can stay together and ultimately prosper. They are the rock that their family and this story are built upon. Its a testament of how stong women can pull a family up by its bootstraps despite the failings of the men.

Puzo's use of Italian (proper, dialect and slang) brings the characters close to home for those readers of Italian-American decent. The vartious Italian-American characters brought back memories of long since past members of my own family.

This book really places your in 1920s-30s new york with all its splendor, virtues, vices and difficulties. It showed me what life was like for my grandparents, aunts and uncles.

This was a very good book that I will read again someday.
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