Malavita: A Novel

( 2 )

Overview

Imagine The Sopranos transplanted to the French countryside….
 

This thrillingly comic, internationally bestselling Mafia farce is the inspiration for the major motion picture The Family starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, and produced by Martin Scorsese.

The Blakes are newcomers to a small town in Normandy. Fred is a historian ...

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Malavita: A Novel

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Overview

Imagine The Sopranos transplanted to the French countryside….
 

This thrillingly comic, internationally bestselling Mafia farce is the inspiration for the major motion picture The Family starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Tommy Lee Jones, and produced by Martin Scorsese.

The Blakes are newcomers to a small town in Normandy. Fred is a historian researching the Allied landings, Maggie enjoys charity work, and their kids are looking forward to meeting other teenagers at the local lycée. Or so it seems.

In fact, Fred is really Giovanni Manzoni, an ex-goodfella turned stool pigeon who’s been relocated from New Jersey to France by the FBI’s witness protection program. He’s got a two-million-dollar bounty on his head, but he and his family can’t help attracting attention (imagine the Sopranos in Normandy). And when imprisoned mobster Don Mimino gets wind of their location, it’s Mafia mayhem à la Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper, or like The Godfather as if written by Carl Hiaasen. Because while you can take the man out of the Mafia, you can’t take the Mafia out of the man.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this hilarious Mafia farce from Benacquista (Framed), Giovanni Manzoni, an important American Mafioso, has been relocated, as Fred Blake, to the small town of Cholong-sur-Avre in Normandy, France, along with his wife and their two children. The discovery of a typewriter in their new home leads Manzoni to start writing about his experiences with organized crime. His 14-year-old son, Warren, uses the survival skills his father taught him to turn the tables on bullies at his new school, while his 17-year-old daughter, Belle, proves more than capable of fending off the wandering hands of would-be boyfriends. The FBI’s efforts to keep “the Blakes” below the radar hit a snag when a screw-up at a local movie night leads to a screening of Goodfellas, giving the mobster an opportunity he can’t refuse to share his firsthand knowledge of the criminal world depicted in the movie. Snappy writing and brisk pacing add up to a comic crime novel Elmore Leonard fans would relish. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Neither the witness protection program nor rural France can tame a Mafioso in this seriocomic romp. A best-seller in Benacquista's native France, this novel centers on Giovanni, a one-time mobster who's escaped New Jersey with his wife, son and daughter after turning evidence against his former compatriots. Re-settling near Normandy, Giovanni, aka Fred, decides to sit down to write his memoirs, telling the neighbors he's working on a book about World War II. But his cover is blown almost instantly; and not just because he's largely ignorant about military tactics. He can't help brandishing a hammer while negotiating with a plumber, and an invitation to discuss Goodfellas with the locals leads to an extended bit of oversharing that has his FBI minders in a panic. Benacquista is careful not to make this novel an outright farce--Fred's wife, Maggie, takes on charity work as a response to the immorality she married into. But the story thrives on absurdities and coincidence, particularly in a virtuoso scene that shows how a casual utterance by Giovanni's son travels from the school paper into the hands of mobsters eager to hunt down the family. Benacquista softens Giovanni's character enough to court the reader's sympathy for a coldblooded killer, but it's never entirely clear if the author is gently sending up Mafia tropes or outright mocking them. The townspeople trade in plenty of anti-American stereotypes, and the climax satirizes action movie themes--thugs, bumbling authorities and all. The book takes its title from the name for the family dog (Italian for "lowlife"), but it's clear who we ought to attach the name to. Likable but occasionally vicious, Giovanni is conflicted but not exactly nuanced. A smart fish-out-of-water conceit, but it's a little ungainly, never quite settling on a tone with which to crack wise about its wiseguys.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780143123859
  • Publisher: Viking Penguin
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 532,904
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tonino Benacquista was born in France in 1961 to Italian immigrants. He is the acclaimed author of several novels, including The Thursday Night Club, as well as film scripts and graphic novels. He lives in France.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    Enjoyed

    I really enjoyed this book. If I see the movie now It will have more meaning. I liked it so much I bought another one of his books "Someone Else", which I have not read yet.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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