Ed Falco will write prequel ‘Godfather’ novel

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Mario Puzo’s bestselling mafia novel, ‘The Godfather,’ will get a prequel, it was announced Wednesday. Publisher Grand Central says ‘The Family Corleone’ will come to shelves in June 2012.

‘The Family Corleone,’ an ‘all-new prequel,’ will be based on an unproduced screenplay written by Puzo. The 78-year-old Puzo died of a heart attack in 1999.


Assigned to bring Puzo’s original characters to early life was Ed Falco, a novelist, short-story writer and playwright who runs the creative writing program at Virginia Tech. Falco is an interesting choice for a number of reasons: He grew up Catholic in Brooklyn; his writing has dealt with violence; the Virginia Tech shooter, who killed 32 people in 2007, was one of his students. And on the more frivolous side, he is the uncle of actress Edie Falco, who starred in the modern-day mafia hit ‘The Sopranos.’

In a 2009 interview with Popmatters, Falco talked about his past:

‘I grew up in the Catholic Church. I was an altar boy at the age of 10, and the mythology of Christianity is just written in my bones. I don’t consider myself conventionally religious, I’m not like a churchgoing Catholic, but the mythology of Christianity is always interrogated and thought about in my writing. I think of myself as a spiritual person, but not a religious person.... [The Virginia Tech shootings] happened in the midst of the novel [‘Saint John of the Five Boroughs,’ 2009], so I was already writing about this when it happened. And people have asked me, because I write about violence regularly in my fiction, what is it to have one of your students do something like that. I’ve never been able to really come up with any sort of coherent response to it. It seems to me like another example of the kind of horrific cultural violence endemic in America. And it just hit home this time.

Before selecting Falco to write ‘The Family Corleone,’ the Puzo family authorized two sequels to ‘The Godfather’ -- ‘The Godfather Returns’ in 2004 and ‘The Godfather’s Revenge’ in 2006. Both novels were written by Mark Winegardner, director of the creative writing program at Florida State University.

-- Carolyn Kellogg