- The Fortunate Pilgrim
infobox Book |
name = The Fortunate Pilgrim
orig title =
language = English
release_date = 1965
media_type = Print (Hardback &
Paperback) & Audio Book
pages = 544 pp (Paperback edition)
isbn = ISBN 0-449-00358-2 (Paperback editions)
The Dark Arena
The Runaway Summer of Davie Shaw
"The Fortunate Pilgrim" is a 1965
novelby Mario Puzo. It deals with the Angeluzzi-Corbos family, a family of immigrantsliving an adopted life in New York City. The head of the family is Lucia Santa, a wife, widow and mother of two families. It is her formidable will that steers them through the Great Depressionand the early years of World War II. But she cannot prevent the conflict between Italian and American values, or the violence and bloodshed which must surely follow.
"The Fortunate Pilgrim" is the real birthplace of "The Godfather". As Puzo says, the book's hero, Lucia Santa, is based on his own mother: "Whenever the Godfather opened his mouth, in my own mind I heard the voice of my mother. I heard her wisdom, her ruthlessness, and her unconquerable love for her family and for life itself. … The Don's courage and loyalty came from her; his humanity came from her…and so, I know now, without Lucia Santa, I could not have written "The Godfather"."
Until his dying day, Mario Puzo considered The Fortunate Pilgrim his finest, most poetic, and literary work. In one of his last interviews he stated that he was saddened by the fact that The Godfather, a fiction he never lived, outshone the novel of his mother's honest immigrant struggle for respectability in America and her courage and filial love, as portrayed in The Fortunate Pilgrim, 1965. The Fortunate Pilgrim, though it won much literary praise from established American novelists, never earned Puzo a living. It was only when he opted for what Hollywood sold well to America, the stereotype of Italian immigrants as mobsters, that Puzo's fame rose to the height of his fortunes as a writer. Many Italian American Groups from the
Sons of Italyto the National Italian American Foundationhave decried the stereotyping of Italians as Mafiosi, since their population actually has no higher percentage of organized crime than other ethnic groups in America.
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