Prizzi's Family is a satirical, semi-humorous crime novel by Richard Condon published in 1988. It is the third of four novels featuring the Prizzis, a powerful family of Mafiosi in New York City. In all four novels the main protagonist is a top member of the family named Charlie Partanna.
The novel opens in December, 1986, as Charley Panaratta, now the Boss of the Prizzi family, or, as he is calling him, the CEO, is considering the use of credit cards in the slot machines in the Prizzi casinos in New Jersey.
Condon attacked his targets, usually gangsters, financiers, and politicians, wholeheartedly but with a uniquely original style and wit that made almost any paragraph from one of his books instantly recognizable. Reviewing one of his works in the International Herald Tribune, the well-known playwright George Axelrod (The Seven-Year Itch, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter), who had collaborated with Condon on the screenplay for the film adaptation of The Manchurian Candidate, wrote:
"The arrival of a new novel by Richard Condon is like an invitation to a party.... the sheer gusto of the prose, the madness of his similies, the lunacy of his metaphors, his infectious, almost child-like joy in composing complex sentences that go bang at the end in the manner of exploding cigars is both exhilarating and as exhausting as any good party ought to be."
In Prizzi's Honor, Condon's normal exuberance was somewhat curbed by choosing to narrate the events through the viewpoints of its various semi-literate gangsters, which limited the scope of his imagery. In Glory, however, he returns to being his usual omniscient narrator and we have:
Real-life names in the book
All of Condon's books have, to an unknown degree, the names of real people in them as characters, generally very minor or peripheral. The most common, which appears in most of his books, is some variation of Franklin M. Heller. The real-life Heller was a television director in New York City in the 1950s, '60s, and 70s, who initially lived on Long Island and then moved to a house on Rockrimmon Road in Stamford, Connecticut. In this book
A.H. Weiler, a film critic for The New York Times, was another friend of Condon's who in this book is
Publisher's Weekly liked it:
Kirkus Review had mixed feelings about it:
The New York Times, definitely: