“She wept through her pain. “Father, Father, why did they do it? Why did they do this to me?” And I wept.’ Bonasera could not speak further, he was weeping now though his voice had not betrayed his emotion.”
The Godfather, Chapter 1, Page 30, Paragraph 1, Sentences 20 – 24
Forgive me again, but Puzo was an idiot. He stated many times that The Godfather was not his best work. He was not proud of it. Never listen when an author judges his own work.
Beyond being the greatest novel ever written and easily and by far the 20th Century’s greatest and most important story, the book is as well written as a novel can be. Of this great writing, none rises higher than page 30. If you read nothing else, read this page many times. And, of this page, the first paragraph, these 24 sentences are enough in their own right to justify 30 years of writing effort by themselves.
Most don’t realize it, but Bonasera is the Don’s greatest alter ego. The two are soul brothers in ways that Vito would never have admitted while he was alive, nor ever have understood. They both allowed their daughters’ worlds to be destroyed by foolish, evil boys. They both believed in America and found their fortune here. They both gave their children freedom, freedom that their children could not manage; freedom that destroyed their children. In this, they both found fate to be more vicious, crueler by far than was possible to conceive or understand.
Amerigo and Vito are one.
There is a war here. Amerigo fights for his freedom. Don Vito fights for his right to serve, for his respect. Amerigo is afraid of friendship; he does not know how to weigh its costs and risks. Vito is afraid of the world. Not afraid for himself, afraid rather of what the world will do to its victims if he for a moment allows it its free play. Vito fears fate, and girds himself to fight it at all costs.
Who will win the war? They will both win.
[originally posted January 22, 2012 at my Facebook]