These powerful themes ricochet through Lorenzo Carcaterra's new novel like bullets from a machine gun. In Gangster, he surpasses even his bestselling 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 Ves Love.
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: A sweeping panoramic 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. From the Hardcover edition.
Hardcover , pages. Published January 30th by Ballantine Books first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Gangster , please sign up. How can I start reading? See 1 question about Gangster…. Lists with This Book. Dec 10, Ana rated it it was amazing Shelves: Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.
This book is a rollercoaster read. It blew my mind. Gangster carries the story both backward and forward in time. It is told from the perspective of two people closest to him: Gabe, a young orphan he took under his win Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. Gabe, a young orphan he took under his wing ; and Mary, the woman who loved him.
The greatest of evils and the worst of crimes is poverty. It was an infancy that helped ease him into the comfortable stance of a loner, needing and seeking the affection of no one. Such beginnings are a common trait among gangsters, who are adept at turning external deprivation into inner strength. I met many men in the gangster life in my years around the old man, and never found one who could be described as chatty.
I was known and liked by many of them, and yet knew I would never earn their trust. To trust someone is to take a risk. Gangsters survive by minimizing risk. You wash my back and I wash yours. Until the time comes to shoot you in the back. Killing people comes too easy to us and that scares me a little. And that what I do doesn't bother me after it's all over scares me even more. Pudge had a passion for violence. But I knew him and I loved him.
Where others saw a sociopath eager to pistol whip a reluctant victim, I saw a man who was quick to smile and offer a young boy a place at his table. I knew he was a man cold enough to kill, but I also knew him to be warm and sensitive to those he cared about. He was a man totally in the moment, who knew only to respond to an action with an action.
He was pure gangster. I tell you, kid, if you want to make a killing in this business, you can't ever be afraid to die. In another place, living among the honest and hardworking, Angelo Vestieri might well have grown up to live a life of simplicity and little consequence.
But his road was paved with more dangerous material. We can ignore, even fight, our destiny, but ultimately we must yield. It was true for Angelo. It was true for me. I would become like them, a bona fide member of their small society. I knew that whatever path my life took, it would be determined by the formidable will of these two men I had come to see as parents. No other solution would be acceptable to them. They were not interested in raising just a son. Ida Bernadine Edwards was the most beautiful woman on the West Side.
She was also one of the toughest, carrying two loaded guns at all times. The queen of the Cafe Maryland, Ida had been a mistress to many of the area's gang leaders. She was in charge of her own crew of thieves. Angelo was walking across Third Avenue, ignoring the uptown traffic and a light, misty rain, when he first saw Isabella Conforti. She wore a checkered red dress, a handwoven blue sweater and two-inch wood clogs.
Her long brown hair only partially obscured a push-button nose, charcoal eyes and a magical smile. Isabella stared at him for several moments, the smile passing from her face and then nodded. I only know what I see in front of me, Angelo, she said. And what I see is a good man who is sometimes sadder than he should be. I'm never sad when I'm with you, Angelo told her.
To me, you will always be the handsome boy in the rain who bought me a piece of fruit. That is the Angelo that has touched my heart. I don't need you to be anything more. Will you feel the same, even after you know more of who I am? You were in love with him? I immediately regretted my surprised tone. From that day to this, she said, turning once again to the man on the bed. Nothing's changed but time. There's gonna be a night, no matter how good you are at this, when you just don't make it through a job.
It's one of the first things I learned. And I never wanted to have somebody I cared about be on the other end of a phone call where they'd have to hear something like that from a stranger.
Angelo is a fascinating character full of deep anxieties and complexities. He remained an enigma, even to those closest to him. He didn't run and hide from the tests of fear. He turned toward them and engaged them boldly. He had his own code of honor, his own ethics, his own rules of living. One of my favorite things about the book is the relationship between Angelo and Pudge, a streetwise Irish delinquent who became his best friend and off-sider.
With Pudge Nichols, friendship came out in its most natural colors. It grew out of hatred and evolved into a bond chain-linked to loyalty and mutual respect. Pudge and Angelo fed off each other's strengths, protected their weaknesses and allowed no one to infiltrate their well-constructed wall of trust.
Within the confines of their brutal world, the two lived as one. They were so unalike in both manner and personality, but they grew to truly love each other. In fact, I don't believe there was anyone in this world Angelo ever loved more than Pudge.
And even in that love, as pure as it was, there was risk. Maybe you'll turn out to be tougher than all of us. I'm too scared to be tough, Angelo said. But I promise to always be your friend. And I will never betray you.
Pudge stared over at Angelo and nodded. Same goes for me, he said. And for the kind of work we're about to get into, that might be all that we need. Gangster is one of those books where the writing is so powerfully, beautifully haunting - and it just makes the book's rich ideas and characterization that much richer. The dialogue is pointed and memorable, has a deep sense of a struggle, and of anxiety which gives the book a deeper meaning which kept me turning the pages till the very last sentence had been read.
Reading this book took me by surprise, in the most welcoming way possible. There's also a big revelation near the end, to say I was surprised would be an understatement.
I can't say much more without getting spoiler-y, but Join a good crime family. No gangster is ever happy when he's at peace. The main reason he's in the business is to eliminate his enemies. View all comments. Apr 07, Monique rated it really liked it Shelves: The story begins with Angelo Vesteiri, an old legendary mob boss who lays dying with the two closest people to him sitting around as he tells the amazing story of his life. I apologize up front as there is so much going on in this book it is hard to write it down specifically-- Okay so beginning with his tumultuous birth and voyage to Amer Interesting I apologize up front as there is so much going on in this book it is hard to write it down specifically-- Okay so beginning with his tumultuous birth and voyage to America Angelo's life was eventful and ruthless..
He meets many and learns to trust few.. There is Pablo, a once happy family man who makes a terrible decision that haunts him and eventually Angelo his entire life; Ida the Goose, one of my favorite charactersa beautiful mob queen that ran a bar,and cared and raised Angelo--when it was her time went out like a straight soldier; Pudge, his best friend since Ida said they would be, who while being violent is lovable at the same time --there are also a host of other characters as they replay Angelo's rise to the top..
There are alot of descriptive passages in this book but I cant help feeling like they left a lot out--I would have loved to hear more about Isabella, the love of Angelo's life and also more about Pudge who played a very interesting sidekick and should have had a larger role.
I was blown away by the whole gang wars though, they were pretty cool with the strategy and methods of murder and there are a bunch of great gangster quotes and lessons that are actually worth applying such as trust no one and vary your routine. The book takes you through the decades and the introduction of new money schemes like drugs into the income gained from gambling and prostitution and how it changed everything..
It reminded me of Carlito's Way meets Goodfellas and I liked that.. Jan 14, Anya rated it it was amazing Shelves: I had so many quotes that I liked, guess I love this genre. Angelo and Pudge are like ice and fire. In some cases these evolved into Tongs , or criminal organizations primarily involved in gambling.
Members of Triads who migrated to the United States often joined these tongs. With a new wave of migration in the s, street gangs began to flourish in major cities. The tongs recruited these gangs to protect their extortion, gambling and narcotics operations. The terms "gangster" and "mobster" are mostly used in the United States to refer to members of criminal organizations associated with Prohibition or with an American offshoot of the Italian Mafia such as the Chicago Outfit , the Philadelphia Mafia , or the Five Families.
Many gangs sold alcohol illegally for tremendous profit, and used acute violence to stake turf and protect their interest. Often, police officers and politicians were paid off or extorted to ensure continued operation.
Most cocaine is grown and processed in South America , particularly in Colombia , Bolivia , Peru , and smuggled into the United States and Europe, the United States being the world's largest consumer of cocaine. By , the Colombian government, helped by the US, had successfully dismantled the cartel by imprisoning or hunting and gunning down its members.
Mexican drug cartels now dominate the wholesale illicit drug market in the United States. Cocaine shipments from South America transported through Mexico or Central America are generally moved over land or by air to staging sites in northern Mexico.
The cocaine is then broken down into smaller loads for smuggling across the U. Cocaine traffickers from Colombia, and recently Mexico, have also established a labyrinth of smuggling routes throughout the Caribbean , the Bahama Island chain, and South Florida.
They often hire traffickers from Mexico or the Dominican Republic to transport the drug. The traffickers use a variety of smuggling techniques to transfer their drug to U. Another route of cocaine traffic goes through Chile, this route is primarily used for cocaine produced in Bolivia since the nearest seaports lie in northern Chile. The arid Bolivia-Chile border is easily crossed by 4x4 vehicles that then head to the seaports of Iquique and Antofagasta.
Al Capone was one of the most influential gangsters during the period. Born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in to immigrant parents, Capone was recruited by members of the Five Points Gang in the early s. Capone would rise to control a major portion of illicit activity such as gambling , prostitution , and bootlegging in Chicago during the early twentieth century.
Frank Costello was another influential gangster. He was born in southern Italy but moved to America when he was four years old. He later changed his name from Francesco Castiglia to Frank Costello when he joined a gang at age His name change led some people to mistakenly believe he was Irish. He worked with Charlie Luciano in bootlegging and gambling.
He also had a lot of political power which enabled him to continue his business. He took charge when Luciano was arrested and expanded the gang's operations. He decided to step away from the gangster life and died peacefully in Carlo Gambino was an influential gangster in America. From until he died in , he was chairman of the Italian-American Mafia. Gambino was born in Palermo, Sicily , but moved to the United States at the age of Through his Castellano relatives, he joined the Masseria Family.
Later Scalise was stripped of his rank, and Vincenzo Mangano became boss until , when Mangano disappeared. His body was never found. They were involved in armed robberies, arson, protection rackets, violent assaults including torture and the murders of Jack "The Hat" McVitie and George Cornell. The Krays were highly feared within their social environment. In the s they became celebrities in their own right, being photographed by David Bailey and interviewed on television.
They were arrested in and both sentenced to life imprisonment. Lucky Luciano born Salvatore Lucania , a Sicilian gangster, is considered to be the father of modern organized crime and the mastermind of the massive postwar expansion of the international heroin trade. He was the first official boss of the modern Genovese crime family and is credited with organizing the American Mafia's ruling body.
Born in southern Italy in , Torrio immigrated to the United States with his mother after his father's death, which happened when he was three years old. Known as "The Fox" for his cunning, he helped the formation of the Chicago Outfit and he is credited for inspiring the birth of the National Crime Syndicate. He was severely wounded by members of the North Side Gang while returning from a shopping trip, forcing him, along with other problems, to quit the criminal activity.
He died in and the media learned about his death three weeks after his burial. Peterson of the Chicago Crime Commission considered him "an organizational genius". Gangs have long been the subject of movies. In fact, the first feature-length movie ever produced was The Story of the Kelly Gang , an Australian production that traced the life of the outlaw Ned Kelly — The classic gangster movie ranks with the Western as one of the most successful creations of the American movie industry.
The "classic" form of gangster movie, rarely produced in recent years, tells of a gangster working his way up through his enterprise and daring, until his organization collapses while he is at the peak of his powers. Although the ending is presented as a moral outcome, it is usually seen as no more than an accidental failure. The gangster is typically articulate, although at times lonely and depressed, and his worldly wisdom and defiance of social norms has a strong appeal, particularly to adolescents.
The stereotypical image and myth of the American gangster is closely associated with organized crime during the Prohibition era of the s and s. The years and saw the genre produce three classics: Though the gangster in each film would face a violent downfall which was designed to remind the viewers of the consequences of crime, audiences were often able to identify with the charismatic anti-hero. Those suffering from the Depression were able to relate to the gangster character who worked hard to earn his place and success in the world, only to have it all taken away from him.
Latin American gangster movies are known for their gritty realism. Soy un delincuente English: He grows into a tough, self-confident young man who is hardened to violence. Five short book reviews for "The Monthly Reading Challenge". Apondia Offline or Private Last On: Third place in the Music Drabble; the song Perfect Day was the prompt.
Teen theives find something they didn't expect. Trish Offline or Private Last On: My First Professional Mistake. A petty thief confesses to stealing what he thought was a cell phone from the airport.
Visions In Tastes and Sounds. Never Trust a Druggie. The Duffel Bag Situation Another snippet from 'Seven Five'. Telboy Offline or Private Last On: July " Monthly Reading Challenge".
Behind the Click and Clack. Behind the click and clack, there is an ominous sound. Flyin' Hawaiian Poetry Challenge. Hot Rocks In Iceland. Casey Anthony -- The Personal Story.
This new book from the journalist of record for the Casey Anthony trial breaks new grouind. Beating Out a Rhythm. Flash Fiction entry , edited for Punct.
I'm Not The Only One. How an evening of music and dancing turned into a Horror Story. Refer a Member Link To Writing. Com Please post questions in our support forum.
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