Fools Die

Fools Die

by Mario Puzo

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback - Reissue)

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“A page-flipping tale of power, brutality and glamour (Library Journal) from the bestselling author of The Godfather

Played out in the underground worlds of high-stakes gambling, publishing, and the film industry, this epic thriller follows two brothers, Merlyn and Arite, as they delve into the dangerous underbelly of American life. From Las Vegas to New York to Hollywood, there is one thing that remains constant: organized crime and the law are simply two sides of the same coin...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451160195
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/01/1979
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 197,996
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The son of Italian immigrants who moved to the Hell’s Kitchen area of New York City, Mario Puzo was born on October 15, 1920. After World War II, during which he served as a U.S. Army corporal, he attended City College of New York on the G.I. Bill and worked as a freelance writer. During this period he wrote his first two novels The Dark Arena (1955) and The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965).

When his books made little money despite being critically acclaimed, he vowed to write a bestseller. The Godfather (1969) was an enormous success. He collaborated with director Francis Ford Coppola on the screenplays for all three Godfather movies and won Academy Awards for both The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather, Part II (1974). He also collaborated on the scripts for such films as Superman (1978), Superman II (1981), and The Cotton Club (1984). He continued to write phenomenally successful novels, Including Fools Die (1978), The Sicilian (1984), The Fourth K (1991), and The Last Don (1996). Mario Puzo died on July 2, 1999. His final novel, Omerta, was published in 2000.

Date of Birth:

October 15, 1920

Date of Death:

July 2, 1999

Place of Birth:

New York City

Place of Death:

Bay Shore, Long Island


Attended New York City's New School for Social Research and Columbia University

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Fools Die 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was a work of art it gave very good details of every thing it is a bit long but set aside a chunck of time because you will absolutely love this book its a little boring at first but keep with it i gurantee that you wont be dissapointed the only reason i gave this book for stars was because it had too much sex in it unlike puzos other books wich have sum sex but not to exess other than that a great well written novel
Guest More than 1 year ago
Puzo combines the East Coast with Vegas in a wonderfully written story. Then throw in gambling, Hollywood, and the Orient. Mario Puzo is the Master storyteller. People only think 'The Godfather' when Puzo's name is mentioned. 'Fools Die' will re-introduce them to the writer. Puzo lives!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of Mario Puzo. I loved 'The Godfather', The Last Don', Omerta', and 'Fortunate Pilgrim'. All are highly recomended, but I struggled with this one. It was boring, tedious. I had to force myself to finish it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading THE GODFATHER, I became a great fan of Mario Puzo. When a friend recommended FOOLS DIE, I jumped at the chance to read another of his books. I had to have read the book in less than a week, for it was one of those books that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This is for sure in my top 20 list. It even made me start writing myself. I recommend this book to everyone!
uvula_fr_b4 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
That Mario Puzo was able to get the shaggy, didactic mess that is Fools Die published -- and have it garner so many rave reviews -- is a tribute to his (inexplicable to me) reputation as "America's master storyteller", to quote the publisher's tag on the back cover, and a function of the nearly forgotten time in which it was published: that a popular novelist, as opposed to a "literary" novelist, could publish such a shapeless hodgepodge of musings on American pop culture as epitomized by Las Vegas (gambling), New York (publishing) and Hollywood (movies), garner enough big-ups from various book-chatters for five pages of rave blurbs for the first paperback edition, and apparently also actually sell mass quantities without resorting to tying it to one or more schools of literary theory and so endear it to the humanities markets of Academe, is nothing short of incredible in the year of 2008.Fools Die is mainly the story of John Merlyn (whom nearly everybody calls by his last name), a peripatetic gambler who yearns to become a published author, eventually does, and then gets punked by Hollywood when his best-selling first novel is turned into a mainstream movie. Secondary plots concern a gambling buddy named Cully who manages to turn his avocation into a career when he's taken under the wing of the mobbed-up owner of the hotel-casino Xanadu, Gronevelt, and the Nobel Prize-contender Osano, who more or less takes Merlyn under his wing. (It's difficult to see Osano as anything other than a dumbed-down stand-in for Norman Mailer, even though Mailer is name-checked in passing.) Merlyn and his brother Artie grew up in an orphanage; Merlyn chose his last name due to an adolescent love of Arthurian stories (with particular emphasis on T.H. White's The Once and Future King tetralogy, since Merlyn makes repeated references to Merlin's living backwards through time), and while mention is made of Merlin's disastrous love-life, Merlyn's luck with the ladies isn't nearly as bad as his namesake's. The point of view continually shifts between first person (largely Merlyn's, with a brief, unfortunate exception for Merlyn's inamorata; this chapter should serve as sufficient proof of Puzo's inability to write women) and third person omniscient (largely Cully, with a couple of notable exceptions), to no real benefit to the (extremely loose) narrative.While Fools Die has several interesting, even amusing, anecdotes, it never rises above the episodic; while technically it could be classified as a picaresque, it's far too desultory, and far too self-conscious, to wear that label comfortably. Various characters over-use the word "cunt" to a surprising degree, but the inherent sexism (despite Merlyn's protestations that Osano is really a man who loves women; the fact that Henry Miller is never name-dropped is perhaps significant, given the manner in which Osano loves and expresses his love for women) doesn't end there: Merlyn goes so far as to complain, in the course of relating a bit of by-play between himself and his mistress, the actress Janelle, "I hate women using words like 'fuck' and 'cunt' and 'mother-fucker'" (p. 312). Of course: Allah forefend that a mere woman exhibit the verbal mastery of the male.Puzo falls down most obviously in his depictions of the literary world and of America's leading literary lion, Osano. It's probably not a good idea, unless you're writing a satire on literary taste, to hold a character up as a perpetual finalist for the Nobel Prize for Literature, and then offer examples of said character's prose. The fragment of Osano's unfinished novel (and this is another example of the problems with the timeline of Fools Die: the dates grow increasingly fuzzy the farther from the early 1950s that the novel progresses; while the assassinations of JFK, RFK and MLK are never mentioned, we somehow are expected to accept the advent of the free-love hippie movement of the late 1960s and
missmath144 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I read 339 pages. NO MORE! Its ideas on sex are trite, mass-produced ideas. The book as a whole is very trite.
sloliveira on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first thing you must have in mind before reading "Fools Die" is this book IS NOT "The Godfather", not even resembles it. It's a slow paced book, showing the story of John Merlyn, a writer who's trying to achieve success in his career. We have some of the usual components of Mario Puzo's books, like gambling, movies industry and New York. I think those items are better developed in a further Puzo's book, "The Last Don". Despite that, it is not a bad book. I got really interested in the developing of Merlyn's character, we can see how he changes as time pass by. For me, Janelle is another good role.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this novel varied in quality from the excellent to very boring. It is about a man who is an orphan who starts out poor who wants to be a great writer.   He ends up being a successful writer who spends time in Hollywood.  The main character is somewhat interesting- he is a tough, streetwise guy who has a high literary aspirations.   He sees himself as being very straight but many readers may not agree with his view of himself. The book starts out with an incident in Las Vegas casino where I have no idea what happened since  I don't gamble but the narrator becomes friends with a man named Cully. Then it proceeds to tell the narrators struggles as a beginning writer, living in the  housing projects and working for the civil service.   This part I found interesting in part because I know many civil servants and people who live in housing projects. The narrator gets fired from the civil service then works for a famous writer named Osano.  This part of the book is boring.   We don't know much about Osano except that he wants to win the Nobel prize in  literature and lives like a pig.   While we don't know what makes Osano a leading figure in US literature but we do know about his  numerous personal failings.   This part of the book is bad. The best part of the book is the ending where the narrator goes to Hollywood and to me the book ended with a punch.   Some of the books stories of Hollywood life were excellent.    There are some parts of the book that describe the workings of Las Vegas which I also thought was outstanding.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When most hear the name MArio Puzo they think "Godfather" and other mafia related tales. Not so with this novel. Puzo is one of the greatest at character development and this novel shows why. Puzo once again brings up the subject matter of power and the troubles that accompany it. He has great insights into the little world of Hollywood and brings them out masterfully in this tale.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Does the mention of Mario Puzo immediately conjure up images of the mafia and The Godfather? Not for me. Not after Fools Die. If you can imagine how powerful a piece of music would have to be to replace William Tell's Overture as the theme to The Lone Ranger, then you can understand the affect of Fools Die on me. It was the first perfect book, I ever read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book back in high school when I took it out of the school library after I enjoyed reading ' The Godfather'.Great story! Mario Puzo became my favorite author at 16 years of age.I still remember how I enjoyed reading this book when I came home from school and could'nt wait to go to the bookstore to look for more titles from Mario Puzo!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read Godfather (great!), The Family (ugh!) & now this. Okay, so the sleazy life of Las Vegas isn't sugar coated. But c'mon how many times does a writer have to use the F word before he comes up with a little more creative dialogue? Not sure I've got the stomach to read the other Puzo books on my shelf. May use them to start fires this winter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very in-depth novel filled with intricacies and a profoundly developed plot. The first person/third person switch adds to the joy of this novel. Janelle is mesmerizing and makes the reader forget about Valerie. This is Puzo's best work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've never understood why this book has been so constantly underated. Maybe because it's so different to the Godfather. I've always had the feeling that after finally writing a best-seller, Puzo said to himself, "Now I'm going to write the kind of book I've always wanted to write!". Unfortunately, it seemed the world was only interested in Mafia tales, where Puzo was concerned. Well, never mind, Mario. I think it's fantastic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Best of puzo's .This book is simply Alive and will remain so long after all the fool's are dead. you have to love this classic book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fools Die by Mario Puzo is a 531 page wonder!Talk about a page turner! It is a beautifully written book that captures the immagination and does not let go. If you like Puzo novels, you'll love this book. Like all great Puzo novels, it is set in New York, Las Vegas, and Hollywood, or, more commonly known as The Golden Triangle. If you've never read a Puzo novel, it's like this: Merlyn, our main character, is born an orphan and has a very close relationship with his brother, Artie. Merlyn gets, eventually, married, has kids, and has ambitions of being an author. However, his first book is a bomb. So, he takes a job for the government as a desk jockey for the Army Reserves. Merlyn, normally a very honest and law-abiding citizen, decides to make his life a little more interesting by bending the rules a bit. With the help of a few friends, his boss, and and old friend from Las Vegas(Cully), Merlyn comes out on top. However, he has to quit his job. So, he takes a job writing for a magazene. His new boss, Osano, is only the most famous author in the world today. Merlyn writes a second book and, it's a hit! So big of a hit, in fact, that Hollywood decides to make a movie of it. So, he goes to Hollywood and makes some friends(Malomar and Janelle). Life is going great but, in the end, Merlyn learns that all Fools Die(the tittle) If you haven't had the pleasure of reading a Puzo book, I 'll give you an example of his superb wrighting: 'I suffer, but still I live. It's true that I may be a sort of phantom in life, but I know my begining and I know my end. It is true that I am an X in an interminate equation, the X that will terrify mankind as it voyages through a million galixies. But no matter. That X is the rock upon which I stand(pg.531).' Great Stuff...huh? From the title to the last words, this book is magic. The only let down of this book, compared to Puzo standerds, is the absence of the Mafia. If you can read a Puzo novel without the Mafia... then I seriously recomend this book. Even without the Mafia, the excellent wrighting makes it a five star book(but only a four star book in Puzo standards).