The Family - book cover
  • Publisher : G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • Published : 02 Nov 2021
  • Pages : 368
  • ISBN-10 : 0525541993
  • ISBN-13 : 9780525541998
  • Language : English

The Family

The Instant New York Times bestseller
A TODAY Show Read with Jenna Book Club Pick

A captivating debut novel about the tangled fates of two best friends and daughters of the Italian mafia, and a coming-of-age story of twentieth-century Brooklyn itself.

Two daughters. Two families. One inescapable fate.

Sofia Colicchio is a free spirit, loud and untamed. Antonia Russo is thoughtful, ever observing the world around her. Best friends since birth, they live in the shadow of their fathers' unspoken community: the Family. Sunday dinners gather them each week to feast, discuss business, and renew the intoxicating bond borne of blood and love.
But the disappearance of Antonia's father drives a whisper-thin wedge between the girls as they grow into women, wives, mothers, and leaders. Their hearts expand in tandem with Red Hook and Brooklyn around them, as they push against the boundaries of society's expectations and fight to preserve their complex but life-sustaining friendship. One fateful night their loyalty to each other and the Family will be tested. Only one of them can pull the trigger before it's too late.

Editorial Reviews

A TODAY Show Read With Jenna Book Club Pick
A Barnes & Noble Discover Pick
A Book of the Month Pick
One of Parade's Best Fall Books of 2021
One of Cosmopolitan's Best Historical Fiction of 2021
One of Good Morning America's 15 Books to Curl Up with This November
One of PopSugar's Best New Books of November 2021
One of Bustle's Best Books of November 2021 

"Vivid, authentic and filled with the unexpected… Once you read this novel of blood and love, promises and betrayal, you may never look at family in quite the same way again." -Washington Post

"Krupitsky's immersive debut is an intoxicating hybrid of The Sopranos and the novels of Elena Ferrante…The writing is downright dazzling…." -San Francisco Chronicle

"Mario Puzo meets Elena Ferrante in Krupitsky's dynamite debut novel...Fans of Adriana Trigiani and Lynda Cohen Loigman will inhale this tense, engrossing novel about family ties, women's friendships, and the treacherous complications of loyalty." -Booklist, starred review

"Loyalty, love, loss and redemption take this well told tale to a searing conclusion. You won't be able to put it down!"-Adriana Trigiani, author of Tony's Wife and The Shoemaker's Wife

"It's been a long time since I've stayed up all night to read a book…. Krupitsky has created a riveting story powerful in its realism." -Diane Chamberlain, author of Big Lies in a Small Town

"Krupitsky has constructed a work of exquisite tension….A tremendous debut." -Fiona Davis, author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue

"If you've ever wondered what all of those Italian mafia movies would look like from the perspective of the women in the families, then you need to pick up a copy of The Family by Naomi Krupitsky right now." -PopSugar

"Krupitsky beautifully captures [Sofia and Antonia's] day-to-day lives under never-ending tension. The women's rich stories make this worthwhile." -Publishers Weekly

"With lyrical, dreamlike prose…Krupitsky's confident style adds a satisfying literary dimension to the often-told tale of how the Mafia tested family loyalties…An authentic, moving novel." -Historical Novels Review

"Compelling and electrically charged…The Family explores the darkness that lurks just below the surface of compulsory Sunday dinners, forced family vacations, and the crushing obligations of silence and obedience." -Lynda Cohen Loigman, author of The Two-Family House and The Wartime Sisters

"A dazzling debut." –Sarah Winman, author of Tin Man and Still Life

"Krupitsky's fierce debut affirms the potential strength of female friendships against the backdrop o...

Readers Top Reviews

Lea Ann Werner
This is a debut?! I mean, for real?! This book reads like (maybe even better than) a Kristin Hannah book! The words are so beautiful, as I closed the final pages, I realized, the book really wasn’t that “exciting” yet, I couldn’t put it down! Maybe it helped that I had very little knowledge about Mob-life before reading this book. I have seen the first Godfather movie, and coincidently, my Fiancé is currently in the middle of a watch-a-thon of the Soprano’s. So I’ve seen MAYBE 2 full episodes. Never really interested me much.. The book focuses on Sofia & Antonia, best friends since birth. How they individually navigate life, and learning that life doesn’t always turn out the way they’d expect. Sometimes it can be unfair, sometimes it can take things away, but look at all it can give back. I personally connected more with Antonia, but I found myself in awe of Sofie’s fearlessness, drive, and beauty. Just like Antonia. I don’t believe the words Mafia/Mob is ever used once. Yet you know what the “Family’s” “line of work” is. Violence is talked about, but not focused on. If I could describe the writing of this book in one word it would be “lyrical” I bought this book for the cover. Ended up on my “favorites” shelf! Thank you Book of the Month for introducing me to this amazing new author! Will be looking forward to reading more by her! 5⭐️ Also, I’ve decided that Sofia is the girl in the grey sweater with Antonia in the red.
4.5 stars, rounded upward. The cover grabbed me first, two women in vintage sweaters—no faces even—and the title written in Godfather font. Oh, heck yes. I need to read this thing. The author is a newbie about whom I know nothing, so I know it may be a recipe for disappointment. I’ve taken review copies this way in the past, and have regretted it, because of course, the cover doesn’t speak to the author’s ability. But old school mobster books are fun, and they’re thin on the ground these days, so I hold my breath as I take a chance…and hit the jackpot! This is one of the year’s best works of historical fiction, and you should get it and read it. My thanks go to Net Galley and Putnam for the review copy. This book is for sale now. Antonia and Sofia grow up together; their fathers are both mobsters, and their houses share a wall. Not only are they thrown together for Family events from early childhood forward, but their peers ostracize them in elementary school, their family’s reputations having preceded them, so for several years, they are each other’s only option. But it’s enough. Our story starts in 1928, and it ends in 1948. We follow the girls through childhood, adolescence, and into their early adult years. At the outset, their fathers are best friends, until Carlos, Antonia’s daddy, starts skimming, covertly building a nest egg in the hope of making a new start far away with his little family, doing an honest job, and leaving the Family behind. His theft is, of course, detected, and he disappears; Joey, Sofia’s father, is promoted, and told to take care of Carlos’s widow and daughter. Thus, we have a clear, concrete reminder, right up front, that this is an ugly, violent business. The author’s note says she wants to demonstrate the strange way that violence and love can coexist, and she does that and more. Those readers seeking a mob story full of chasing and shooting and scheming will do well to look elsewhere. We do find these things, of course, primarily in the second half, but the story’s focus is entirely on Sofia and Antonia. Whereas setting is important—and done nicely—the narrative’s fortune rises or sinks on character development, and Krupitsky does it right. These women become so real to me that toward the end, when some ominous foreshadowing suggests that devastating events are around the corner, I put the book down, stop reading it or anything else for half a day, and brood. I complain to my spouse. I complain to my daughter. And then, knowing that it’s publication day and I have an obligation, I return to face the music and finish the book. (And no. I’m not telling.) My only concern, in the end, is a smallish smattering of revisionism that occurs during the last twenty percent of the novel. Knowing what gender roles and expectations are like in that time and place, I have to say that, ...
kathleen g
A wonderful saga about two young women navigating their way in a crime family in the 1940s. Antonia and Sofia are as entwined as can be without being blood relatives. Both of their fathers- Carlo and Joey-are in the Family but they too are very different. Carlo, who wanted something more, disappears, changing life for Antonia and her mother Lina who makes her promise she won't marry a man in the family. Antonia has dreams of university but then there's Paolo, marriage, and motherhood. Sofia finds herself swept away by Saul, a Jewish man in the business and she too wants more. The relationship between these women is powerful and touching. Krupitsky has done a terrific job with crafting characters whose emotions run off the page. This might seem a little slow at the start but hang on for the powerful storytelling and an ending which surprised me. Thanks to the publisher for the ARC. Great read.
ronald peterson
I loved this book. Read it in less than a day. If you don't read another book this month you must read The Family

Short Excerpt Teaser


[July 1948]

Shooting a gun is like jumping into cold water.

You stand there, poised on the edge, muscles coiled to leap, and at every moment until the last, there is the possibility of not doing it. You are filled with power: not as you jump, but just before. And the longer you stand there, the more power you have, so that by the time you jump the whole world is waiting.

But the moment you leap, you are lost: at the mercy of the wind and gravity and the decision you made moments before. You can do nothing but watch helplessly as the water looms closer and closer and then there you are, submerged and soaking, ice gripping your torso with its hands, breath caught at the back of your throat.

So a gun unfired holds its power. In the moments before trigger clicks and bullet is unleashed, beyond your grasp, out of your control. As thunder crashes in the distant wet clouds and the electric air raises the small hairs on your arms. As you stand, feet planted like your papa taught you just in case, shoulder flexed against the recoil.

As you decide and decide again.


Book One


Sofia Colicchio is a dark-­eyed animal, a quick runner, a loud shouter. She is best friends with Antonia Russo, who lives next door.

They live in Brooklyn, in a neighborhood called Red Hook, which is bordered by the neighborhood that will become Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill. Red Hook is younger than Lower Manhattan, but older than Canarsie and Harlem, those wild outskirts where almost anything goes. Many of the buildings are low wooden lean-­tos near the river, but the rooftops climb higher away from the waterfront, toward still-­low but more permanent brick townhouses, everything a dark gray from the wind and the rain and the soot in the air.

Sofia's and Antonia's families moved to Red Hook on the instructions of their fathers' boss, Tommy Fianzo. Tommy lives in Manhattan, but he needs help managing his operations in Brooklyn. When their neighbors ask Carlo and Joey what they do, Carlo and Joey say, this and that. They say, importing and exporting. Sometimes they say, we're in the business of helping people. Then their new neighbors understand and do not ask any more questions. They communicate via snapped-­shut window shade, and by telling their children, it's none of our concern, loudly, in the hallway.

The other people in the neighborhood are Italian and Irish; they work the docks; they build the skyscrapers sprouting like beanstalks from the Manhattan landscape. Though the violence has abated since the adults in this neighborhood were children, it is still there, hovering in the spaces between street­lamp circles.

Sofia and Antonia know that they are to tell a grown-­up before going to one another's houses, but not why. Their world consists of the walk to and from the park in the summers, the clang and hiss of winter radiators, and all year round, the faraway splash and echo of men working the docks. They know certain things absolutely, and do not know that there is anything they do not know; rather, the world comes into focus as they grow. That's an elm tree, Antonia says one morning, and Sofia realizes there is a tree in front of her building. Uncle Billy is coming for dinner tonight, says Sofia, and Antonia suddenly knows that she hates Uncle Billy: his pointed nose, the shine of his shoes, the stink of cigars and sweat he leaves in his wake. Cross the street or you'll wake the maga, they remind each other, giving a wide berth to the smallest building on the block, where everyone knows-­but how do they know?-­that a witch lives on the third floor.

Sofia and Antonia know that Uncle Billy is not their real Uncle, but he is Family anyway. They know they are to call him Uncle Billy, like Uncle Tommy, and that they have to play nicely with Uncle Tommy's children at Sunday dinner. They know there will be no discussion in this regard.

They know that Family is everything.

Sofia lives in an apartment with three bedrooms and a wide window in the kitchen, which looks out onto the no-­backyard-­access backyard. The landlord sits out there in the summer with no shirt on and falls asleep with cigarettes dangling from his thick fingers. The midday heat burns the places his body is exposed to the sun, leaving the underside of his round belly and arms lily-­white. Sofia and Antonia are not supposed to stare. In Sofia's room there is a bed with a new bedspread, which is red flannel; there are three dolls with porcelain faces lined up on the shelf; there is a plush rug she likes to sink her toes into.

Down the hall from her bedroom there is her parents' room, w...