The Fortunate Pilgrim

crime fiction, Novel by Mario Puzo


The Fortunate Pilgrim is a 1965 novel by Mario Puzo.
Until his dying day, Mario Puzo considered the novel 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 liked, 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 acquired fame and fortune commensurate with his stature as a writer.
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.

First Published


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