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Paperback The Postman Always Rings Twice Book

ISBN: 0679723250

ISBN13: 9780679723257

The Postman Always Rings Twice

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

An amoral young tramp. A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband. A problem that has only one grisly solution--a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir . It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America's bleak...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Despair and degradation as art

This is a book you read once and can't stop thinking about. It's what I call a 'blue book', one that is soulful and strangely mellow. It actually makes me feel like I'm underneath a very shady tree on a sunny day. Reason being that the light is very blue green, so a 'blue' book. Before I try to make sense of this, let's continue.Frank Chambers is a young drifter who rolls into town, goes to work in a diner for Nick, a tough Greek, falls for Nick's young wife Cora, then decides, with Cora's help, to murder Nick and take over the restaurant. What should be simple becomes more complex. The first murder attempt fails, the second one is successful but easy to see through. With the help of a very smart and very crooked lawyer, both Frank and Cora are soon free. That, really, is where the problems start.Frank and Cora love and hate each other fiercely, speaking with remarkably accurate, real dialogue. Cain doesn't even attribute his dialogue, so pay close attention to who's speaking. The book is mostly just people talking, in very real language, full of slang and fragmented sentences. It's like listening to a REALLY interesting conversation.Frank and Cora are two very small, unremarkable, inconsequential people caught up in something too big for them to understand. They mistake happiness and hope for lust, hate, anger and even apathy. And just when things look alright, one little, honest accident washes it all away. This book shows us how fragile everything is, or at least how fragile it can be. That's what elevates this to the level of tragedy. This is something to live with and dwell upon, something you can never quite shake off, no matter how hard you try.(...)

Fast-paced thriller you will never forget

When I was 12 I climbed on board something called The Texas Cliffhanger at Six Flags Over Texas. It was a small four or five person bench with a cage around it that lifted us something like five stories into the air. Then it pushed us forward and dropped us. The entire ride lasted maybe a minute, but I never forgot it and I by God knew I’d had a thrill. The Postman Always Rings Twice is no different. It is wild and one of the shortest novels I’ve ever read. But believe me, I know I’ve read a novel.Not only is the book short, its pace rarely relents. There is not an overabundance of description or other literary devices. It slams the door, straps you in and drives you to the end. And you get there fast with no detours and no fluff and nothing extra, just the point. You rip right through piles of mistrust and angst and murder and love and passion and lies and truths and you end in reality. And for Cain, reality is a cold floor and a long walk and a knotted rope swinging in the wind. I believe this novel started a whole line of fiction and movies that continues to this day. First and most obvious, the noir genre has its roots here. The colloquial speech, the first person narrative, the looker dames who are in where they ought not be – it’s all here. Second, the love triangle involving a drifter and a young woman married or indentured to an older, wealthy man.... I’d recommend this one wholeheartedly. Not just for its place in literary history, but for the pure joy of a good read. Lie back and let it take you for a quick thrill.

Another Favorite By James M. Cain

This novel was another stunner from Cain. Set out in a then country area of California, outside of LA in the early 1940s, most of the action takes place at a diner on the main highway. This too involves a wife very unhappy with her husband, Cora with Nick. She finds a possible way out of her life with this brutish husband when drifter Frank comes into the diner and hangs around doing odd jobs for them. The couple plot to kill Nick so that they can end up with the diner and each other. There was one movie version done by John Garfield and Lana Turner in the 1940s that was absolutely faithful to the book. There was a 2nd version in the 1980s with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange that deviated somewhat from the novel, especially towards the end. I enjoyed both film versions equally and would highly recommend them. A Cain novel is very hard to put down once you've started and the man used no excess words. He too was an expert at looking at the best and worst of people as brought out by crime and its punishment.

good nasty fun

James M. Cain, along with Chandler and Hammett, really created the literary genre which would be turned into film noir. One revels in the image of Cain, who was himself an insurance adjustor, sitting at his desk dreaming up the perfect murders which form the basis of his novels. In Postman, Frank Chambers interrupts his cross country rambling at a diner owned by Nick Papadakis after getting one look at Nick's wife, Cora. That first look conveys everything we need to know about the relationship between men and women in noir fiction, "Except for the shape, she really wasn't any raving beauty, but she had a sulky look to her, and her lips stuck out in a way that made me want to mash them in for her." Frank and Cora become lovers and are soon plotting to murder Nick, but find they don't trust one another and "Love, once you get fear in it, turns to hate." As the novel closes, Frank is on Death Row. One of the other inmates theorizes about the sub-conscious and how he's not responsible for his crime. But Frank says, "To hell with the sub-conscious. I don't believe it. It's just a lot of hooey, that this guy thought up so he could fool the judge. You know what you're doing and you do it." This is another quintessential element of American noir--the "heroes" are not victims of the psyche; they are knowing actors & when the time inevitably comes to pay for their sins, they accept punishment stoically, knowing that they deserve it for their evil deeds. There's an important lesson here, as we close the Century which saw a sustained assault by the partisans of Freud and Marx upon the notion of personal responsibility. To quote the immortal philosopher Baretta, "don't do the crime, if you can't do the time." GRADE: A

A man would kill for love...

I finished reading The Postman Always Rings Twice a week ago, and i was astonished at how a short book could pack such power, you can read it in half a day...you could understand why he did what he did. Cora was beautiful,loving and longing for a way out of her desperate situation...Frank found in Cora his reason for living and dying...The prose in this book hits you like a machine gun, tight and clean; all of the supporting characters serve a purpose..Cain shows you how greed can affect anyone, not just the main characters...I've often wondered if a woman was worth dying for or even killing for..this book tells you what a man would do for love

The Postman Always Rings Twice Mentions in Our Blog

The Postman Always Rings Twice in The Best American Thrillers
The Best American Thrillers
Published by Melina Lynne • November 18, 2015

Here in the Northwest, outdoor thrill seekers hit a lull at this time of year when summer is truly over, but our ski season hasn't begun. With the November wind and rain raging outside I'm more than happy to find indoor activities for the time being, and reading is always at the top of the list. The only side-effect to your reading time when it comes to the mystery and thriller genre, is an inability to move. The doorbell may be ringing, the kitchen timer going off, and the kids running in circles around you, but until you get through your chapter, you are glued to your seat; your fingers itching to turn the page and find out what happens. (Looking ahead is considered cheating!)

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