Richard Condon | Critical Review by Vincent Patrick

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Richard Condon.
This section contains 466 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Vincent Patrick

Critical Review by Vincent Patrick

SOURCE: "Prizzi for President," in The New York Times Book Review, October 9, 1988, p. 24.

In the review below, Patrick praises Condon's characterization in Prizzi's Glory.

The final volume in the Prizzi trilogy, Prizzi's Glory, opens in 1985 with the family doing business as usual in Brooklyn under the skilled stewardship of its 48-year-old C.E.O., Charley Partanna, whom Richard Condon fans know as the Mafioso whose single venture into matrimony, with a hit woman for the mob, ended with her tragic death in California.

At the start of the present volume Charley marries Maerose Prizzi, a great beauty and granddaughter of Don Corrado, bringing to fruition their 19-year engagement. The most Sicilian of the Don's offspring, she paradoxically longs for respectability and acceptance into New York's nouvelle society. To this end, Charley—who runs the Prizzis' street operations and who is "not an originator" but a man who "could carry out orders with the dedication and mindlessness of a lieutenant colonel of the U.S. Marine Corps"—is made over with a new name, face and background as well as British elocution lessons. As Charles Macy Barton, he replaces Edward S. Price (the Don's son, Eduardo Prizzi, himself made over years earlier) as head of America's largest conglomerate.

Eduardo is a man so attuned to public relations that the interior of his private DC-10, acquired from his late, great friend, the Shah of Iran, is as austerely decorated as a turn-of-the-century Vermont store, complete with cracker barrel and roll-top desk. He also keeps several sets of dentures for different occasions. To indicate total submission at meetings with the Don, he has a copy of George Bush's teeth made from photographs taken on the day the Iran-contra scandal broke. Since Charley is to replace him, a suitable slot needs to be found for Eduardo—the family runs him for President of the United States in the 1992 election. The Prizzis' street operations (loan sharking, extortion, etc.) are franchised out to the highest bidders, thus getting the family off the street completely and into the far more lucrative area of politics.

The plot gives Mr. Condon ample elbow room for political and social satire that is always funny. Much of it is based on observations from the point of view of Charley Partanna or his cohorts, clear-thinking, pragmatic Sicilians whose values aren't learned from this season's television series. We like them for that, and Mr. Condon doesn't invest his characters with cute, endearing qualities; rather, the Prizzis' charms stem from their complete lack of hypocrisy.

Toward the end things take an unexpectedly serious turn and a touch of tragedy leavens the humor, a feature of the Prizzi novels that works perfectly here. We close the book with a sense of loss for Charley and for ourselves. We are going to miss these Prizzis.

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This section contains 466 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Vincent Patrick
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