Love. Violence. Destiny. These powerful themes ricochet through Lorenzo Carcaterra's new novel like bullets from a machine gun. In Gangster, he surpasses even his best-selling Sleepers to create a brutal and brilliant American saga of murder, forgiveness, and redemption.
Born in the midst of tragedy and violence and raised in the shadow of a shocking secret, young Angelo Vestieri chooses to flee both his past and his father to seek a second family: the criminals who preside over early 20th-century New York. In his bloody rise from soldier to mob boss, he encounters ever more barbaric betrayals - in friendship, in his brutal business, in love - yet simultaneously comes to understand the meaning of loyalty, the virtue of relationships, and gains a perspective on the lonely, if powerful, life he has chosen.
As the years pass, as enemies are made and defeated, as wars are fought and won, the old don meets an abandoned boy who needs a parent as much as protection. By taking Gabe under his wing and teaching him everything he knows, Angelo Vestieri will learn, in the winter of his life, which is greater: his love for the boy he cherishes, or his need to be a gangster and to live by the savage rules he helped create.
A sweeping panorama with riveting characters, a unique understanding of the underworld philosophy, and a relentless pace, Gangster travels through the time of godfathers and goodfellas to our own world of suburban Sopranos. But this is more than just an authentic chronicle of crime. Setting a new standard for this acclaimed author, Gangster is a compassionate portrait of one man's fight against his fate - and an unforgettable epic of a family, a city, a century.
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This is one of my favourite books so I was quite excited to listen to the audio version as it's read by Joe "Fat Tony" Mantegna. His narration gave life to the characters and made me fall deeper into a story that I already love so much.
I would recommend Gangster if you enjoy Mario Puzo or other Lorenzo Carcaterra books such as Sleepers, or if you have a bit of a strange fascination with gangsters as I do :-)
His narration is wonderful and perfectly draws you into gritty life of Angelo Vestieri. He is very talented and switches between the voices of the characters with ease. I must say that of all the audio books I have listened to so far his narration has been the best and most complementary to the story that is being read.
There is a lot going on in this book - betrayal, remorse, vengeance, redemption. At times it's brutal and gritty but also weaves in moments of dark comedy (via Pudge) and romance as Angelo builds relationships and has those bonds tested by the life he choses to live.
This really is a very enjoyable listen and I would love to see this made into a mini-series or a movie as it basically reads like one.
- Warren todd