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Publisher's Summary

Before The Godfather and The Last Don, Mario Puzo wrote The Fortunate Pilgrim, a novel many believe to be one of the classics of Italian-American fiction. In this special edition, Mario Puzo's legions of fans will discover a different side of this legendary author, writing for the first time about an Italian family in which a woman holds the power.

Lucia Santa has traveled 3,000 miles of dark ocean, from the mountain farms of Italy to the streets of New York, hoping for a better life. Instead, she finds herself in Hell's Kitchen, in a bad marriage, raising six children on her own. As Lucia struggles to hold her family together, her daughter confronts the adult world of work and romance while her eldest son is drawn into the Mafia. Meanwhile, her youngest son aspires to American pursuits she cannot understand.
©2004 Mario Puzo (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Puzo has called this 1965 pre- Godfather novel his personal favorite of his oeuvre.....This 'very colorful and perceptive novel' remains 'highly readable' for today's audience." ( Library Journal)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 19-02-2013

Puzo's Best

Any additional comments?

If you are an Italian-American of a certain age, this story resonates with bits and pieces of history and culture you've heard your whole life. A premiere storyteller, who brings every character to life with a vibrant honesty and recognition of the human condition. I was a little disappointed with the narrator's "Italian" accent; I think this would have been improved by authenticity in that department.

23 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • bethany
  • 22-12-2010

excellent book & more so for the narrator

this book is just amazing, funny & truly charming..i listen to a great deal of audio & i can not imagine this book read by another narrator.


23 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-05-2017

must read

Mario Puzo's hidden jewel. must read. the story is timeless and much more relatable in today's world

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Felice Stadlinger
  • 07-04-2015

Excellently written and vastly entertaining

Not as well-known as the blockbuster Godfather series but memorable well-written well developed characters that speak to the immigrant experience. I saw and felt my own Italian immigrant story in this book. Highly recommended.

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Gotta Tellya
  • 05-02-2018

So-so

In the foreword, the author, Mario Puzo, says this is his favorite of all the books he wrote, inspired as it was by his mother. Since Puzo also wrote The Godfather, an excellent book (better than the movie version, which says a lot), I anticipated that The Fortunate Pilgrim would be wonderful. It may be so to Mr. Puzo and to other readers, but I did not like it. I stopped listening after four chapters. I can’t get into Puzo’s descriptions of early 1900’s immigrant family life, which comes across as loud and controlling and dysfunctional, featuring corporal punishment of children and women holding court on the stoops of their tenements, sitting in judgement of each other. Life may very well have been like this for the people of the time, but I found little charm in rehashing their angst. As for the narrator, he did an acceptable job, perhaps a good effort, but not one I could evaluate fairly given my dislike of the material.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Brooke Bradley
  • 07-12-2016

Wonderful, amazing, must read/listen!!! obsessed!

So beautifully written. Brings every emotion possible out in the best way possible. Must read!

14 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim Palmer
  • 28-04-2018

Is this the author of the Godfather series?

Would you try another book from Mario Puzo and/or John Kenneth?

Loved the Godfather series.

Has The Fortunate Pilgrim turned you off from other books in this genre?

Not sure where this one was going? Finally gave up about half way into this one.

Would you be willing to try another one of John Kenneth’s performances?

Would want to try the sample first. Maybe if the material was better.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None that I found.

Any additional comments?

This book had no story, just a diary of the family. Understandably that the authors statement in the opening stating this one never sold and he continued to struggle until the Godfather. I only listened to about half and gave up. The narration was fair to be generous.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Derek Ealy
  • 21-04-2016

It was ok

Maybe my experience rations were too high considering he was the author of The Godfather

14 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Jeanne Frentz
  • 05-06-2018

Great listening.

After reading The Godfather in college I have been a fan of Mario Puzo and his Italian family sagas.

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  • KAT M K
  • 15-05-2018

This is any immigrant's story

Told from the point of view of a strong woman. ......the strength of womanhood and motherhood. The struggle to make a better life in a new land and bring up your children , embracing that land and that dream, but fiercely trying to instill in your children the old values ; still understanding their hopes and dreams in a new and changing world. Powerful.