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The Postman Always Rings Twice

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Cain's first novel - the subject of an obscenity trial in Boston and the inspiration for Camus's The Stranger - is the fever-pitched tale of a drifter who stumbles into a job, into an erotic obsession, and into a murder.

116 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1934

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About the author

James M. Cain

150 books777 followers
James Mallahan Cain (July 1, 1892–October 27, 1977) was an American journalist and novelist. Although Cain himself vehemently opposed labeling, he is usually associated with the hard-boiled school of American crime fiction and seen as one of the creators of the "roman noir."

He was born into an Irish Catholic family in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of a prominent educator and an opera singer. He inherited his love for music from his mother, but his high hopes of starting a career as a singer himself were thwarted when she told him that his voice was not good enough.

After graduating from Washington College where his father, James W. Cain served as president, in 1910, he began working as a journalist for The Baltimore Sun.

He was drafted into the United States Army and spent the final year of World War I in France writing for an Army magazine. On his return to the United States he continued working as a journalist, writing editorials for the New York World and articles for American Mercury. He also served briefly as the managing editor of The New Yorker, but later turned to screenplays and finally to fiction.

Although Cain spent many years in Hollywood working on screenplays, his name only appears on the credits of three films, Algiers, Stand Up and Fight, and Gypsy Wildcat.

His first novel (he had already published Our Government in 1930), The Postman Always Rings Twice was published in 1934. Two years later the serialized, in Liberty Magazine, Double Indemnity was published.

He made use of his love of music and of the opera in particular in at least three of his novels: Serenade (about an American opera singer who loses his voice and who, after spending part of his life south of the border, re-enters the States illegally with a Mexican prostitute in tow), Mildred Pierce (in which, as part of the subplot, the only daughter of a successful businesswoman trains as an opera singer) and Career in C Major (a short semi-comic novel about the unhappy husband of an aspiring opera singer who unexpectedly discovered that he has a better voice than she does).

He continued writing up to his death at the age of 85. His last three published works, The Baby in the Icebox (1981), Cloud Nine (1984) and The Enchanted Isle (1985) being published posthumously. However, the many novels he published from the late 1940s onward never quite rivaled his earlier successes.

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Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books248k followers
August 17, 2020
”Stealing a man’s wife, that’s nothing, but stealing his car, that’s larceny.”

 photo POSTMAN_MAIN1520_zpsem8cp40h.jpg
John Garfield and Lana Turner in the 1946 movie.

Frank Chambers is a drifter, a man who, when life gets too heavy, catches the next boxcar out of town or puts his thumb out on the nearest highway. Being comfortable or achieving normalcy comes with too much responsibility. He’d rather bum it than have anyone relying on him.

It all begins with a sandwich in a California diner on a road in the middle of nearly nowhere. Nick “The Greek” Papadakis owns the diner and is in need of some help. The Greek offers Frank a job which even though he is broke still sounds like...well..work.

Until he meets Cora.

”Then I saw her. She had been out back, in the kitchen, but she came in to gather up my dishes. Except for the shape, she really wasn’t a 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.”

He takes the job.

Something sparks between them, something desperate, something twisted, something so bad it is good. The first time The Greek leaves them alone, Frank is all over her:

”I took her in my arms and mashed my mouth up against hers….'Bite me! Bite me!'
I bit her. I sunk my teeth into her lips so deep I could feel the blood spurt into my mouth. It was running down her neck when I carried her upstairs.”

 photo ThePostmanAlwaysRingsTwice1981_large_zpsf9pm84lm.jpg
The steamy kitchen scene from the 1981 movie starring Jessica Lange and Jack Nicholson

The pain they inflict on each other in that encounter is only the beginning of this passionate, sadomasochistic relationship with unexpected moments of what could be termed romance. ”Tomorrow night, if I come back, there’ll be kisses. Lovely ones, Frank. Not drunken kisses. Kisses with dreams in them. Kisses that come from life, not death.”

Which would all seem very sweet except for the fact that they are planning to kill The Greek. Frank would have never had the ambition for such a deed on his own. His idea is that they just take off, become gypsies, live off the land, but Cora wants to be free, and she also wants the diner.

She is a femme fatale.

“I ripped all her clothes off. She twisted and turned, slow, so they would slip out from under her. Then she closed her eyes and lay back on the pillow. Her hair was falling over her shoulders in snaky curls. Her eye was all black, and her breasts weren’t drawn up and pointing up at me, but soft, and spread out in two big pink splotches. She looked like the great grandmother of every whore in the world. The devil got his money’s worth that night.”
 photo postman-always-rings-twice-poster_zpsnelw1zes.jpg
1946 poster for the movie

Frank is caught up in this woman who is game for anything. She lets him do things to her that would have most any other woman screaming for help. It is hard to determine if Cora actually had any feelings for Frank or for The Greek. Certainly, The Greek and Frank liked each other more than Cora liked either of them. Was she playing the game she had to play to get the accomplice she needed? Was the perversion of their relationship something she needed as well? The Greek was too old for her, but Frank as it turns out was not who she needed either.

The trial sequence is convoluted, crafty, and artful as their attorney builds this elaborate defense designed to defeat his frenemy, the prosecutor. He doesn’t care if they are guilty. He only cares about winning. Frank turns on Cora; Cora turns on Frank (another form of foreplay?) which is all part of the defense attorney's plan to set them free. The ending of the novel certainly seems a commentary by James M. Cain that people do not escape their guilts nor their destinies.

 photo Postman20Poster_zpsrbl1u3ax.jpg
One of the more suggestive movie posters from 1981.

There has been much puzzlement over the title because there is no postman involved in the story or anything that would readily suggest a reason for the title. I’ve been doing some research, and it seems that the most logical explanation that people have come up with is that in this time period when the postman delivered the mail, he would ring the bell on the house once, but if he had a telegram, he would ring twice. Telegrams were expensive, and to receive one generally meant that something bad has happened. The title probably made more sense to people in 1934 than it does to us today. If we accept this explanation, then Cain is warning his audience that nothing good is coming.

This is a terrific noir novel, a prime example of the genre. This book and this writer have certainly had an enduring impact on not only the hard boiled mystery novel, but also on literature and Hollywood. The book has been filmed seven times with most people agreeing that the 1946 version with John Garfield and Lana Turner was the best. The book was banned in Boston for being too sexually violent. There were several scenes that even by contemporary standards had me squirming due to the graphic nature, but I was also reading with a certain amount of awe at the audacity of an author trying to depict the very real, dark aspects of a deranged, desperate relationship. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

If you wish to see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,963 followers
August 9, 2016
Talk about false advertising. I read this thinking it was a manual for postal employees that I could use to study for civil service exam. But it was just a story about some guy who starts sleeping with another man’s wife and then they decide to kill the husband. It was a pretty good book, but I flunked the test when there weren’t any questions about plotting a homicide. Oh, and that Kevin Costner movie didn’t help either.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews43 followers
October 12, 2021
The Postman Always Rings Twice, James M.(Mallahan) Cain (1892 - 1977)

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a 1934 crime novel by James M. Cain. The novel was successful and notorious upon publication.

It is regarded as one of the more important crime novels of the 20th century. Fast-moving and brief (only about 100 pages long, depending on the edition), the novel's mix of sexuality and violence was startling in its time and caused it to be banned in Boston.

The story is narrated in the first person by Frank Chambers, a young drifter who stops at a rural California diner for a meal and ends up working there. The diner is operated by a beautiful young woman, Cora, and her much older husband, Nick Papadakis, sometimes called "the Greek". ...

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «پستچی همیشه دوبار در میزند»؛ «پستچی همیشه دوبار زنگ میزند»؛ اثر: جیمز ام کین؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز دوم ماه دسامبر سال 2013میلادی

عنوان: پستچی همیشه دوبار در میزند؛ اثر: جیمز ام کین؛ مترجم: مرجان بخت مینو؛ مشخصات نشر کرج، مینو، 1392، در156ص، شابک9786005848519؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا، سده 20م

عنوان: پستچی همیشه دوبار زنگ میزند؛ اثر: جیمز ام کین؛ مترجم: بهرنگ رجبی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، چشمه، 1393، در 140ص، شابک9786002290267؛

عنوان: پستچی همیشه دوبار زنگ میزند؛ اثر: جیمز ام. کین؛ مترجم: سرود؛ مشخصات نشر انتشارات کانون دنیا و هنر، در 92ص، شابک ندارد

هر آنکه می‌خواهد داستان‌نویسی یاد گیرد، باید رمان‌های «جیمز کین» را بخواند؛ هر چند خود «کین» پس از شنیدن چنین حرف‌هایی با فروتنی تمام گفته اند «ما این‌قدر مهم بودیم و خودمان خبر نداشتیم؟»؛ تنها نویسندگان جوان و نوپا نیستند که باید از این کتاب چیزی یاد بگیرند؛ «آلبر کامو» یکی از کسانی است که خودشان گفته اند، سبک و مضامین این کتاب، روی رمان «بیگانه» تاثیر بسیاری داشته است؛ «ریموند چندلر»، «دیوید گودیس»، «جیم تامپسون» و هر نویسنده‌ ی سرشناسی در ادبیات جنایی و پلیسی که پس از «کین» رو نمودند، همه کم یا بسیار در آثار خود از این نویسنده‌ ی بزرگوار، انگیزه گرفته‌ اند؛

فرانک چمبرز، ولگردی از اهالی «کالیفرنیا»، یکروز برای سیر کردن خود، وارد رستورانی بین‌ جاده‌ ای می‌شود؛ و در آنجا با سرهم کردن دروغی، غذا می‌خورَد؛ صاحب رستوران، که به دنبال کارگری می‌گردد، به او پیشنهاد کار می‌دهد؛ «چمبرز» علاقه‌ ای به ماندن ندارد، ولی با دیدن زن صاحب رستوران (کورا)، به او دل می‌بازد، و پیشنهاد کار را میپذیرد؛ پس از مدتی و با دوطرفه‌ شدن علاقه، «کورا» و «فرانک» می‌خواهند تا به گونه ای شوهر «کورا» را بکُشند؛ و ...؛

نقل از متن: (ماجرا اینجوری بود؛ ماجرا تمام طول عصر اینجوری بود؛ یونانیه یکی از شراب‌های شیرینشو آورد و یه مشت آهنگ خوند و دور هم نشستیم و تا جایی که به کورا مربوط می‌شد، من هم یکی از یاروهایی بودم که قدیم اونجا کار می‌کرده، فقط اسمشو درست و حسابی یادش نمی‌اومد، وقت خواب که شد، گذاشتم اون‌ها برن بالا و بعد خودم رفتم بیرون، کلی راه رفتم و نمی‌دونم چقدر بود، تا چقدر دور شدم، ولی بعدِ یه مدتی شنیدم از تو ساختمون صدای دعوا می‌آد؛ برگشتم و نزدیک که شدم، تونستم یه چیزهایی از حرف‌هاشون بشنوم، کورا داشت وحشتناک داد می‌کشید، و می‌گفت من باید بذارم برم؛ یونانیه نامفهوم یه چیزی مِن و مِن می‌کرد؛ احتمالا اینکه دلش می‌خواد من بمونم و برگردم سرکار؛ یونانیه داشت سعی می‌کرد «کورا» رو ساکت کنه، ولی تشخیص من این بود که «کورا» اونقدر بلند داد می‌زنه که من بشنوم؛ اگه تو اتاقم بودم، که اون فکر می‌کرد هستم، می‌تونستم خیلی روشن همه‌ ی حرف‌هاشو شنیده باشم؛ حتا از این جایی که بودم هم کلی‌شو می‌شنیدم.)؛ پایان

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 06/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 19/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Julie G.
895 reviews2,920 followers
August 11, 2018
I should be embarrassed by how much fun I had reading this. . . but I'm not.

Instead, I feel like I've knocked back five Cuban coffees or finally had that fantasy tryst with the Fiennes brothers.

Wow, am I amped!

This is my second James M. Cain novel (the first being Mildred Pierce—which I immediately read twice) and I'm just swooning over the overdrive, over-the-moon, over-the-top quality of the writing here.

There is NOTHING in this skinny novel that screams this will work for you! Quite the opposite. There's almost ZERO character development, the dialogue is almost laughable, and the plot just keeps picking you up and ploinking you down, wherever it wants you to be, beyond reason.

And yet. . . it works. It works. It works. Well, it certainly worked for me.

This is Frank's story, his story of what happens between him and some dame. . . a dame name Cora, whose “lips stuck out in a way that made [him] want to mash them in for her.”

He wants to mash them in? Her lips? Wha?? That's so violent!

And Cora wants him to mash them in, too, and she wants him to sock her and rip her and I SHOULD BE TERRIBLY OFFENDED. But, I'm not.

I realized, quickly, that I shouldn't waste my time wondering if this 1934 noir thriller is misogynistic. It's not the point. Neither is the violence (which is silly by today's standards anyway).

To appreciate this story, you've got to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

This is a story of two sick motherfuckers on a fast-paced outlandish journey. . . and I delighted at every moment of its overdone, illogical plot. I literally screamed out in disappointment, when I arrived, far too quickly, at the last page.

Dang it! Don't take my fun away.

Sob. Don't take my fun away!
Profile Image for Francesc.
458 reviews222 followers
March 26, 2022
Un clásico de la novela negra y criminal. Una ambientación excepcional. Destaca, sobre todo, la trama que teje James M. Cain basada en el trío de personajes y como se va estrechando el cerco sobre un trágico destino.

A classic crime novel. An exceptional setting. It highlights, above all, the plot that James M. Cain weave based on the trio of characters and how the fence is tightening on a tragic fate.
Profile Image for Brina.
933 reviews4 followers
June 11, 2017
James M Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice is a fun, racy hard boiled crime noir classic. First published in 1934 and banned in many places for its provocative scenes, the novella is a fun read full of memorable scenes. Albert Camus used this story as his basis for The Stranger, propelling Cain into the limelight. Later, Cain wrote Double Indemnity, cementing his place as a successful noir writer. Yet, it is for Postman that he is best remembered.

Frank Chambers is a con artist and a bum who is unable to remain in the same city long enough to settle down. His wanderings have gotten him into trouble with the law at many of his stops and finally he is looking to start anew, or so he has us believe. Outside of Los Angeles, he stops at Nick Papadakis' roadside restaurant, and enjoys it so much, that Papadakis offers him a job. The real reason Chambers desires employment: Papadakis' lusty wife Cora, who Chambers is determined to have for himself.

It turns out that Cora is as much of a scamp as Frank is. The two were meant for each other and they develop one crazy scam after another in an attempt to get Nick out of the picture. Papadakis is a hard working Greek immigrant who is determined to achieve the American dream. Even his roadside stop is a melding of Greek and American culture, and one feels sorry for him in his role in this story. Yet, Nick's plight matters little to Frank and Cora as they work hard to get him out of the picture and cash in on his success. The novella reads fast to see where these hare brained schemes lead the couple.

The protagonists end up in and out of trouble with the police as they work to get both Nick out of the way and the cops off their tale. In the interim there are many steamy bedroom scenes for which this novella was originally banned. Between the bedroom moments and run ins with the cops, Cain has created a memorable story that will remain as a classic in noir literature. It was a fast, fun read for an afternoon, and a solid 4 stars.
Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
498 reviews850 followers
March 28, 2019
James M. Cain is a 20th century author whose celebrated works feel alive and deadly, like a black mamba in the wild instead of one stuffed in a museum. Published in 1934, The Postman Always Rings Twice can be read in almost the time the bite from a poisonous snake would be fatal, without the paralysis. What's exciting and often terrifying about Cain's stories are how little it takes for ordinary, seemingly decent Californians to barrel down the highway of self-destruction. A sprinkle of laziness, a jolt of lust and no more greed than most of us have within us is all it takes.

The story is the first person account of Frank Chambers, a twenty-four-year-old rambler rambling north from Tia Juana in a hay truck. Tossed out twenty miles from Los Angeles with nothing but the clothes on his back and a consolation cigarette, Frank stops at a roadside sandwich joint called Twin Oaks Tavern, conning his way into a meal courtesy Nick Papadakis, the gregarious Greek who owns the place. Mr. Papadakis is desperate to hire a good man to run the filling station and help around the tavern. Frank informs the Greek he's mulling propositions and will get back to him.

Frank's future firms up when he meets the Greek's wife, Cora. Sulky and dark haired, Cora runs the kitchen with a massive chip on her shoulder, resentful that people like Frank might think her to be Greek or Mexican instead of white. Frank is so wound up by Cora that he can't keep his food down. When a wind storm knocks down the tavern's bulb sign, Frank sells his boss on going to town to have a neon one made. Alone with Cora for the first time, Frank locks the lunchroom and grabs his boss's wife by the arm. Unsatisfied by Frank merely mashing her lips, Cora tells him to bite them. Then they head upstairs.

One day the Greek heard there was a guy up the road undercutting him on gas. He jumped in the car to go see about it. I was in my room when he drove off, and I turned around to dive down in the kitchen. But she was already there, standing in the door.

I went over and looked at her mouth. It was the first chance I had had to see how it was. The swelling was all gone, but you could still see the tooth marks, little blue creases on both lips. I touched them with my fingers. They were soft and damp. I kissed them, but not hard. They were little soft kisses. I had never thought about them before. She stayed until the Greek came back, about an hour. We didn't do anything. We just lay on the bed. She kept rumpling my hair, and looking up at the ceiling, like she was thinking.

"You like blueberry pie?"

"I don't know. Yeah. I guess so."

"I'll make you some."

Cora Papadakis, née Smith, reveals to Frank that she came to L.A. by way of Des Moines. Like many, she gave up on a career in pictures and ended up in a hash house, where the Greek rescued her. Feeling the call of the road, Frank asks his boss's wife to run away with him, but for Cora, the road only leads back to the hash house. She has a better idea and asks Frank to help her. Improvising a blackjack out of a sugar bag and ball bearings, Frank has Cora knock the Greek unconscious during his Saturday night wash. At the moment she's to push him under and drown him, a state cop catches Frank in his headlights outside the tavern and stops.

Realizing a drowned husband would look too conspicuous now, Frank has Cora phone an ambulance. The lovers get lucky when a cat fried itself on the fuse box and cut electricity at the moment the Greek felt himself knocked out. The fuse box and dead cat also satisfies the curiosity of the state cop suspicious of Frank's behavior and his story. Scared off by how close they came to getting caught, Frank hits the road again. After stopping in San Bernardino to hustle pool, he runs into Mr. Papadakis, a bit sore at Frank for running out on him but as gregarious as ever. Unable to get Cora off his mind, Frank returns to work at the tavern.

Puffed up by his press coverage, Mr. Papadakis invites both his wife and Frank on a trip to Santa Barbara. Still at impasse over whether to hit the road or knock off the Greek, the lovers switch gears. Instead of plotting the perfect murder, they plan one so incriminating that they just might get away with it. The vehicle rollover made to look like the Greek broke his neck also breaks Frank's arm, but the D.A. doesn't buy it, discovering that Papadakis took out a big insurance policy on himself before the accident. It turns out that keeping the truth from a jury is simple compared to Frank and Cora keeping the truth from each other.

I ripped all her clothes off. She twisted and turned, slow, so they would slip out from under her. Then she closed her eyes and lay back on the pillow. Her hair was falling over her shoulders i snaky curls. Her eye was all black, and her breasts weren't drawn up and pointing up and me, but soft, and spread out in two pink splotches. She looked like the great-grandmother of every whore in the world. The devil got his money's worth that night.

We kept that up for six months. We kept it up, and it was always the same way. We'd have a fight, and I'd reach for the bottle. What he had the fights about was going away. We couldn't leave the state until the suspended sentence was up, but after that I meant we should blow. I didn't tell her, but I wanted her a long way from Sackett. I was afraid if she got sore at me for something, she'd go off her nut and spill it like she had that other time, after the arraignment. I didn't trust her for a minute. At first, she was all hot for going too, specially when I got talking about Hawaii and the South Seas, but then the money began to roll in.

The quality that appeals to me most about The Postman Always Rings Twice (aside from the terrific title, which has no correlation to the story and might've simply been something Cain overheard and thought would look good in print) is how harrowing it is. Set during the Great Depression, the story reflects a time when young men hit the road with no idea where their next meal would come from and young women were trapped in marriages they could no more walk out on than they could become tramps themselves. Living moment to moment, desperately, anything can happen. A masterful wordsmith, Cain puts the reader right there.

I caught a ride to San Bernardino. It's a railroad town, and I was going to hop a freight east. But I didn't do it. I ran into a guy in a poolroom, and began playing him one ball in the side. He was the greatest job in the way of a sucker that God ever turned out, because he had a friend that could really play. The only trouble with him was, he couldn't play good enough. I hung around with the pair of them a couple of weeks, and took $250 off them, all they had, and then I had to beat it out of town quick.

I caught a truck for Mexicali, and then I got to thinking about my $250, and how with that much money we could go to the beach and sell hot dogs or something until we got a stake to take a crack at something bigger. So I dropped off, and caught a ride back to Glendale. I began hanging around the market where they bought their stuff, hoping I would bump into her. I even called her up a couple of times, but the Greek answered and I had to make out it was a wrong number.

Rather than need to be dusted off, Cain taps into urges I related to. Restlessness, lust, greed, drunkenness, love. His story surges forward on these emotions, bottlenecking with a few pages of inside detail about insurance companies that Cora's attorney dumps on Frank. Cain rebounds with a climax that had my heart in my throat. His haunting tale has provided the source material for two U.S. film versions, one in 1946 starring Lana Turner and John Garfield and the other in 1981 starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. Both Cain's novella and its two films were notorious at the time but are only mildly erotic by today's standards.

Length: 28,561 words

Profile Image for Jason Koivu.
Author 7 books1,255 followers
July 28, 2014
Don't you love it when something you've heard about for ages turns out to be really good, but in a delightfully different way than expected? ...What do you mean, "no"? Go to hell!

I've been laboring under the misapprehension that this was a play about a killer mail carrier. Maybe that's because I grew up in a time when the phrase "going postal" was coined. (In a sidebar: Isn't it great how the English language is still evolving to incorporate new words and phrases?!) My mother had just recently joined the ranks of those crazy bastards and as the years progressed her bouts with pms turned our house into the Rumble in the Jungle once a month, so I readily expected her to go fully postal. Anyway, I'm getting sidetracked. It turns out the title is just allegorical!

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a taut noir about a drifter who thinks he's the sharpest knife in the draw. He snatches up a job in one of those highwayside nothings that you can still find out there in the California desert near the Arizona border. The drifter latches on to the wife of the goodly Greek gas station/diner owner. The wife hasn't realized her western dreams. The drifter is always looking for some easy scratch. A plot is hatched and nothing goes as you think it will.

That's the beauty of this aging novel: the surprises it still holds after all these years. After all the pulp crime dramas churned out for decade upon decade now, The Postman Always Ring Twice can still ring yer bell, toots.
Profile Image for Marchpane.
296 reviews2,164 followers
September 17, 2020
The Postman Always Rings Twice may be lurid and pulpy, yes, but it is by no means lowbrow. On the surface it’s a campy, titillating noir full of sex and murder, but it also serves up some pretty savage existentialism and social commentary.

Some may point to the racism and anti-immigrant feeling in this 1934 novel as signs it has aged poorly—I disagree. The toxic xenophobia on display here is exactly the point.

There’s a huge gulf between Nick Papadakis—a decent guy whose only fault is to be overly trusting—and the way his wife Cora describes him: ‘I hate that Greek’, she says ‘he’s greasy and he stinks’. Her lover Frank, the hardened drifter who narrates this sordid tale, refers to Nick throughout as ‘the Greek’ despite clearly knowing his name.

We’re not supposed to sympathise with these two; like everyone else involved (except for Nick) they are despicable, morally bankrupt characters. Murder, corruption, grift—these are bad people doing bad things, and this novel’s not making any excuses for them.

As white Americans on the skids, Frank and Cora resent Nick’s success as a small business owner. Why should Nick have silk shirts when Frank has nothing? When Cora, a former Midwestern beauty queen, is made to feel like a ‘cheap Des Moines trollop’? This is Americana gone rancid:

“I’m so sick of hot dogs and beer and apple pie with cheese on the side I could heave it all in the river.”

It’s equally cutting on marriage, the justice system and capitalism. Frank may be a two-bit swindler but it turns out he’s not so different from the besuited insurance guys with an ‘interest’ in his criminal case.

The prose style has been parodied to death by now, a detached first-person vernacular that antecedes Holden Caulfield and includes some great one-liners:

“Stealing a man’s wife, that’s nothing, but stealing his car, that’s larceny.”

There’s no justice or redemption to be found in this pitch-black noir, but there is karmic comeuppance. For Frank and Cora, crime absolutely does pay, but fate will still get you in the end. If not on the first ring, then on the second.
Profile Image for Fabian.
956 reviews1,623 followers
November 9, 2019
An astounding achievement of 20th century Feminism... Psych! It's absolutely the opposite of that...

Taut, tense, and with a lightning-speed pace, this is a seminal work by Cain. Its also a bit elementary, less wordy than the similar noir "The Butterfly" though not as epic (or precious, or memorable) as (my personal favorite) "Mildred Pierce."
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
December 26, 2017

I think that’s why James M. Cain’s important 1934 crime novella is not more relevant today. After decades of infidelity and violence, the shocking events Cain describes are just not as disturbing now as they were in the 30s. When this came out there were charges of obscenity and the book was banned in some locations. These days, flip a few channels on TV and you’ll see worse. Hell, kids are playing games where there are more sexuality and violence.

But back in the day, this was edgy and original and dangerous. Cain’s minimalistic tale of deceit and clandestine brutality influenced scores of novels and media since. This has been adopted to film seven times. I saw the 1981 version starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange and I thought it was mildly pornographic. From ‘81 til now even that description has been diluted.

Still a good story and worth the small investment in time (approximately 100 pages) to read some very early and influential noir.

Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
February 18, 2017
4+ Stars ANOTHER good one by Cain......ANOTHER surprise ending......

I vaguely remember the movie with Nicholson and Lange as being hot and steamy, but the words "we did plenty" is about as hot and steamy as it gets here in THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE.

Cain sure could write hard-boiled crime though, and crime is what you get plenty of in this 1934 classic!

Zoomed right through it!

Profile Image for Trudi.
615 reviews1,454 followers
February 11, 2012
Stealing a man's wife, that's nothing, but stealing his car, that's larceny. ~The Postman Always Rings Twice
If Noir can be said to have a cold, black heart it’s Postman that provided the juice to electroshock it into a beating, breathing existence. It is without a doubt one of the most important crime novels of the 20th century (of any century really) and has gone on to influence entire generations of writers and filmmakers. As a debut, it shocked, titillated and disgusted, banned upon publication in Boston and in Canada. Before I even knew anything about this book, or the films that were based on it, I adored that title. To this day, it remains one of my favourites.

What Cain accomplishes in just a mere 100 pages is impressive. He finds the voice of the common man, and the dark and dangerous shortcut to greed, lust, and violence. More than anything, Cain understands how easily man is corrupted, how easily he can corrupt others, like an infection. And I use “man” here in the generic sense encompassing both genders, because when it comes to villains and black hearts, Cain is an equal opportunist.

Entire books and dissertations have been written about Cain’s women – the good, the bad, the rampant sexism, the alleged misogyny – whatever. Cain’s characters don’t bleed political correctness that's obvious – what they are is a symbol of their time and circumstances – hewed from harshness, beacons of egocentrism, proprietors of antisocialism. The women like to be smacked around a little (it helps get them in the mood), and the men are only too willing to oblige the ladies in that regard. Men aren't asking for what ought to be freely given, and should it be denied to them, why... they'll just take it anyway, won't they?

Based on all of this, Postman easily garners five stars, so why am I only giving it four? My only hesitation stems from this: I just didn’t enjoy it as much as Double Indemnity. Neither Frank nor Cora drew me in to quite the same extent that Walter and Phyllis did – the former are cold, dislikable and a bit icky, whereas the latter duo are fascinating in their terribleness and villainy. They are even sympathetic in their own messed up way … whereas Frank and Cora felt like reptiles crawling on their bellies, sniffing for a blood meal. Plus, Phyllis is simply an awe-inspiring, terrifying creation – a walking, talking sociopath before the term was even widely known. She is quiet, sexy, subtle and deranged -- I love her.

Having said that, Postman is lean and mean hard-boiled pulp fiction and you gotta respect that. It’s not shy about going for the jugular with absolutely no foreplay. But Cain doesn’t need it, requiring so little time and so few words to get the reader foaming at the mouth -- when he’s ready to go, so are you. This is a must-read, but you know that already.
Profile Image for Ayz.
120 reviews18 followers
April 27, 2023
a subversive noir about karma. one of my favourites. this is a quick easy read that tells a twisty turny story about what happens when two lowlife sociopaths fall in love. partly black comedy, partly a window into narcassim.

with zero fat in the narrative, this would be james m cain’s greatest achievement if double indemnity and a handful of other great books by him didn’t also exist. the guy could write, to say the least. a writer who was especially adept at unredeemable but fascinating characters who you couldn’t stop reading about despite themselves.

and yes, the ending is pitch perfect and may even elicit an ironic laugh or two.
Profile Image for Richard.
998 reviews382 followers
August 21, 2016
"Tomorrow night, if I come back, there'll be kisses. Lovely ones, Frank. Not drunken kisses. Kisses with dreams in them. Kisses that come from life, not death."
With the one-two punch publication of both this novel and the serialized version of Double Indemnity in the mid-1930's, James M. Cain truly popularized what we know of now as being the hard-boiled sub-genre of roman noir in American fiction, a long time before the term was even coined. Since it's publication, this book has spawned so many copycats, and inspired so many writers and an entire genre of movies that it's story of a man falling for a femme fatale, their descent into crime, and their eventual doom is kind of a cliché at this point. But even to this day, over 80 years later, very few have been able to match the intensity of both this and Indemnity.
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.
I initially thought that this was better than Indemnity but now on my second reading, I saw that while it's still great, and still has a stellar, superior ending, Postman pales a bit in comparison. But it's still stronger and tighter than many books in its genre and beyond. It's a little over 100 pages of high tragedy as we witness these two emotionally weak but determined characters dig themselves deeper into a hole of self-destruction and form a bond started by love and transformed into hate, a bond that they realize will never be broken, no matter how much they want out. Can anyone else think of any flawed couples like this in recent bestselling fiction? Of course you can. Yep, and it all started with The Postman Always Rings Twice.
I ripped all her clothes off. She twisted and turned, slow, so they would slip out from under her. Then she closed her eyes and lay back on the pillow. Her hair was falling over her shoulders in snaky curls. Her eye was all black, and her breasts weren’t drawn up and pointing up at me, but soft, and spread out in two big pink splotches. She looked like the great grandmother of every whore in the world. The devil got his money’s worth that night.
Profile Image for David.
161 reviews1,492 followers
March 1, 2012
Adjust your expectations because there are neither postmen nor ringings (of any frequency) in this novel. Even though I didn't much care for the 1946 Lana Turner-John Garfield film adaptation, I decided to read this because the new cover was visually appealing. Score one for judging a book by its cover! Suck it, wise saying! This nasty little noir features rotten people doing rotten things, like hatching murder plots, trapping pumas in the jungles of Nicaragua, and opening beer gardens. Cora is the regulation femme fatale, a sleazy strumpet manning the griddle at a roadside diner that's just far enough from L.A. to be exactly nowhere. Then Frank Chambers the drifter blows in and falls for this lowdown dame (and by 'falls for' I mean wants to bite her lips until he draws blood), but—wouldn't you know it?—Cora's got an oily Greek husband who's standing in the way of their nonstop fuckathon and (wink, wink) rosy future together. Divorce maybe? Nah, that's for amateurs. How's about murder? But don't fret. As with everything in life, Hume Cronyn shows up and saves the day. For a while, at least. Until later, when Cora's swelling, 100 meter buoy-like bosoms bob on the surface of the Pacific Ocean presaging inevitable tragedy.
Profile Image for Jon Nakapalau.
5,096 reviews723 followers
October 12, 2016
When desire is caged it often lashes out...this story illustrates the violence that can be caged in the human heart for years - trapping any hope of happiness even when set free.
Profile Image for Meike.
1,587 reviews2,808 followers
January 14, 2019
This 1930s hardboiled crime novel is told from the perspective of a young tramp with a criminal record who enters into an affair with a femme fatale, resulting in them scheming to kill her husband. It's astounding how much fun this book is: Cain effectively employs the tropes of the genre and plays with them, as we slowly learn about the outcome of the story from the criminal himself. What's also unusual for the genre is that the text can be interpreted as having a morale, namely that in the long run, people cannot escape the consequences of their actions (which could also be the meaning of the title, because make no mistake, there is no postman in this story!).

A lot of the developments are direct results of the relationship dynamics of the protagonists, and it's a relationship that makes both parties as well as the readers permanently wonder whether this is love, or whether one (but who?) is just taking advantage of the other - the suspense remains high throughout the text, and the composition is really well-done. But like many hardboiled novels written in the first half of the 20th century, this text displays some stereotypes that would be unacceptable today, particularly racism against the apparently very hard-working and non-abusive Greek husband who is nonetheless perceived to be a source of shame because he is categorized as non-white - while it probably wasn't Cain's intention, this kind of illustrates that people who have nothing going on for themselves (like the wife) just love to brag about their lack of melanin as if it was an achievement.

As far as hardboiled novels go, this is a great example of the genre, but fortunately, some of the attitudes displayed haven't aged well.
Profile Image for KamRun .
376 reviews1,441 followers
April 24, 2015
می گویند پستچی همیشه دو بار زنگ می زند. پستچی هر که هست، چه خدا باشد، چه تقدیر و چه شانس، دو بار حق اشتباه داری، دوبار می شود پای آدم بلغزد، دو بار جان سالم به در می بری و باز به تو فرصت می دهند، اما بار سومی در کار نخواهد بود. پستچی می رود، روی برمی گرداند، هر چه هست، در همان دو بار باید یادشان بگیری، به خودت بیایی و بعد منتظر انتقام سخت پستچی می مانی

دیالوگی از فیلم پستچی همیشه دوبار زنگ می زند

داستانی جنایی/درام که با زبان عامینه توسط قاتل به صورت اول شخص روایت می شود.داستان ریتمی تند و ضربانی دارد و بارها خواننده را غافلگیر می کند.داستان در ژانر پلیسی سیاه - نوآر(شاخه سینما)- نوشته شده و بیشتر حول جایگاه قتل،شخصیت قاتل و افکار،احساسات و آرزوهای وی و همدستش کورا(همسر مقتول) می چرخد. با اقتباس از این اثر،فیلمی به کارگردانی باب رافلسون ( سال 1981 محصول مشترک آمریکا و آلمان غربی ) و درخشش جک نیکلسون در نقش فرانک (قاتل) و فیلمی دیگر به کارگردانی تی گرنت (سال 1946 - محصول آمریکا) ساخته شده است.در نگاه اول عنوان کتاب ارتباطی با متن داستان ندارد،با این وجود نوینسده در انتخاب ��نوان ظرافت خاصی به خرج داده است.بر اساس حدس و گمان گفته می شود پرونده حقیقی جنایی روث اسنایدر(1927) الهام بخش کین در انتخاب نام داستان بوده است.در آن پرونده نیز زنی با همدستی معشوقه اش اقدام به قتل شوهر خود و دریافت غرامت بیمه می کند.اسنایدر برای جلوگیری از لو رفتن ماجرای بیمه،به پستچی گفته بود تا هنگام رساندن بیمه نامه به منزلش،دوبار زنگ زده تا اسنایدر متوجه علامت شده و خود شخصا آن را دریافت نماید.علاوه بر این،عنوان "پستچی همیشه دوبار زنگ می زند" اشاره به این مضوع دارد که در نهایت عدالت به روش خویش مجرم را جزا می دهد (ممکن است بار اول صدای زنگ نامه رسان شنیده نشود،اما مطمئنا پستچی برای بار دوم زنگ خواهد زد و این بار همه صدای آن را خواهند شنید).در این داستان نیز بار اول حقیقت از محضر دادگاه مخفی می ماند.اما بار دوم فرانک به خاطر جرم قتل ناکرده ی دیگری در تنگنا افتاده و این بار حقیقت ماجرا روشن می شود.همچنین می توان عنوان را به صورت دیگری نیز تحلیل کرد.فرانک دوبار اقدام به قتل مرد یونانی(نیک) می کند و هر دوبار به نحوی از ماجرا جان سالم به در می برد.با این حال بار سوم دیگر راه فراری برای نیک نیست( هم معنی با این ضرب المثل فارسی که "یك بار جستی ملخک، دو بار جستی ملخک ، آخر به دستی ملخک"). جذابیت ذاتی داستان، نحوه روایت، فصل های کوتاه(16 فصل) و ترجمه روان آن؛کتاب را به اثری استثنایی در این ژانر بدل کرده است

تصویر اعدام روث اسنایدر

این عکس اعدام روث اسنایدر را در ۱۲ ژانویه سال ۱۹۲۸ نشان می‌دهد.این تصویر، نخستین عکسی می باشد که از صحنه یک اعدام با صندلی الکتریکی گرفته شده است. تصویر به علت تکان های ناشی از عبور جریان الکتریسیته از اسنایدر تا حدودی تار است.عکسبردای مخفیانه و غیرقانونی توسط تام هووارد و به سفارش نشریه نیویورک دیلی نیوز صورت گرفته است

توضیحات بیشتر در ارتباط با کتاب و نحوه انتخاب عنوان آن
Profile Image for Scott.
1,797 reviews128 followers
April 22, 2021
"I mean to stick by him. But I can't stand it anymore. God, do I look like a little white bird?" -- Cora

"To me, you look more like a hellcat." -- Frank

At this late date is there really anything new I can mention in a review for author Cain's crime classic The Postman Always Rings Twice? Published and set in the mid-1930's - when America was fully in the grips of the Great Depression - we observe shifty drifter Frank roll into a dusty backwater burg in Los Angeles County and find employment at a small roadside gas station / cafe. While he gets along well enough with the middle-aged Greek owner, it's said owner's much younger wife Cora (a Midwestern farm girl turned failed actress) who helps set the plot into motion. Frank and Cora - who are of similar age - begin a passionate affair, which culminates with them murdering her husband in a traffic 'accident' on a desolate road. Then the fun - by which I mean some screwy twists and turns - REALLY starts in this story. I especially liked the character of Sackett, a righteous district attorney, who grills Frank post-crash because he has a good idea of exactly what is happening. Although this novelette is nearly 88 years old, it's still an original and fairly energetic little tale with a dark finale.
Profile Image for Carmen.
2,064 reviews1,907 followers
April 26, 2023
This book was not what I expected at all. A hobo walks into a diner and the diner owner, a Greek named Nick wants to hire him. The hobo would never agree except he learns the Greek has a really hot wife. He hits on her. Initially she resists, but then she gives in and they start an affair. Frank quickly learns that Cora hates her husband and finds him disgusting. She soon plants the idea in his mind that they should kill him. So they think of this elaborate plot in which she brains him when he's in the bath and claims he fell. The cops come at the wrong time and they revive Nick. He recovers in the hospital. He becomes happily fascinated with his accident, and makes a scrapbook about it. He now wants Cora to have his baby. So they try to kill him again, this time in a car accident. They set up witnesses, make sure Nick is drunk, etc. This time it works. Nick dies. Frank punches Cora in the face so that it looks like she got hurt. He gets hurt (broken arm). What they didn't know (or did Cora?) is that Nick had recently taken out a 10K life insurance policy. The police are suspicious. They turn on each other and confess against each other. But they get a great lawyer and he gets them off. Now they should be enjoying the money but they can't trust each other. He wants her to run off with him and live a hobo life, and she wants to keep the restaurant and add a beer garden. When her mom dies, she leaves for a week and he has an affair in Mexico with a big cat trainer. Cora comes back. A guy who is fired from the lawyer's office comes by and tries to blackmail them with their confession that he stole. Frank beats him up repeatedly and brutally and forces him to lure his cohorts there. They burn all the copies. Cora finds out about Frank's affair when the cat trainer stops by his house with a kitten. She is furious. Now Frank wants to kill Cora and Cora wants to turn Frank in. They seethe. But then Cora reveals that she is pregnant. That makes Frank happy. Cora tries to leave – but he stops her and she says she couldn't anyway – she loves him. But he needs a chance to. She insists they go swimming so he can have a chance to drown her if he wants to. But he wants to get married. So they get married and go swimming. She goes out far, but he doesn't leave her – he loves her. She is having a little trouble breathing so they go to shore. He is rushing her to the hospital when he crashes into a tree and she is killed. The police arrest him and put him to death. POINTLESS
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for TheBookWarren.
434 reviews101 followers
December 16, 2021
4.75 Stars (Rnd ⬆️) — There is a distinct reason this is considered a timeless classic, that predominantly is because it really is Timeless, truly & wholly in both definition & description.

Whilst the narrative here is dealing with fairly common ground, tropes that are well explored throughout Literature, the Authors prose is so visceral, so personal & cutting, that you can’t help but begin to do more forensic psychoanalysis on yourself and those you know intimately, within almost every key passage throughout.

Whether you’re into sadomasochistic pleasures or not, this epic tale is one that thrills & enthrals from cover to cover. Frank is a character that at first no one feels they can relate to, but by the time the final page is turned the realisation that a custom version of Frank exists inside all of us, resonates with mute abandon!!!

Frank is the ‘stranger’ Billy Joel sung about in the 70’s moody-melodic-ballad..

“Well we all have a face, that we hide away forever! And we take them out & show ourselves, when everyone has gone”...
Profile Image for Eliasdgian.
413 reviews116 followers
February 13, 2021
Δεν θυμόμουν την ταινία, αν έτυχε ποτέ να την παρακολουθήσω ολόκληρη [αναφέρομαι στην (τέταρτη;) κινηματογραφική εκδοχή της με τους Jack Nicholson και Jessica Lange], πράγμα που είχε ως αποτέλεσμα να απολαύσω ξεχωριστά το βιβλίο και να με συνεπάρει η «κινηματογραφική» του πλοκή. Κι αν πράγματι η συγκεκριμένη νουβέλα δεν διεκδικεί λογοτεχνικές δάφνες (κάτι που ασφαλώς δεν έχει πάντοτε σημασία), έχει ρυθμό, ανατροπές, εραστές που δείχνουν έτοιμοι να καταστραφούν για το πάθος τους, κι έναν από τους πιο αινιγματικούς και αξιομνημόνευτους συνάμα μυθιστορηματικούς τίτλους που γνωρίσαμε ποτέ.
Profile Image for Roman Clodia.
2,489 reviews2,709 followers
May 9, 2021
We're chained to each other, Cora. We thought we were on top of a mountain. That wasn't it. It's on top of us, and that's where it's been ever since that night.

I expected this to be no more than entertaining pulp fiction but actually it's more interesting than that label implies. It certainly drips with moody noir emotions: lust, obsession, greed, paranoia, and is packed with murder, aggression, blackmail, violent sex. But Cain's terse prose is the ideal vehicle for the maelstrom of events and its very plainness is the perfect antidote to the high-octane plot.

Camus famously cited this book as an inspiration for his L'Étranger, and his 'the Arab' certainly seems to draw on 'the Greek' here, both racialised victims of murder. .

Published in the Depression years, this book depicts a constrained and under-privileged suburban milieu where a drifter clashes with a frustrated femme fatale, and where the rich houses of Malibu Beach are just minutes - and yet a world - away. Cora has dreams only to find herself thwarted and forced into marriage, a state from which she is desperate to escape. And the toxic relationship between her and Frank reminds me all too easily of that of the protagonists in Thérèse Raquin and even Macbeth.

This is almost the opposite of Chandler's noir where instead of a Marlowe as a would-be knight in a dirty world, Cain puts us in the head of a perpetrator, even as the text wonders to what extent he's also a destined victim. Even the lawyers are corrupt and the only 'justice' we see is that brought about by - and for - the greedy capitalism of insurance companies.

And watch out for the cats which punctuate the story: the one which creeps up the ladder, the baby puma and Cora herself as a 'hell cat'.
Profile Image for Clint Hall.
168 reviews8 followers
May 27, 2023
The Postman Always Rings Twice is a book written for the current modern era, albeit with a 30's twang. It's a story that has been told a hundred times since--boy meets girl, boy knocks off girl's husband, but the prose has bones not seen at the time. It was a crime noir, but vividly violent and with a sexual nature that surely got it cancelled by the squares of the day.

It read like a true crime journal, giving any detail you want--as long as you can stomach it. The protagonist is lust, the antagonist monogamy. Then, just when you figure it's all fixed up to perfection, doubt and betrayal move the story in different directions.

A terrific and absorbing tale for anyone who fancies himself a noir-nut. The only aspect that may turn some off was the dialogue sometimes sounded like it was straight out of a black-and-white moving picture--a 'talkie' they call 'em, see?
Profile Image for Tim.
477 reviews656 followers
December 30, 2018
"Tomorrow night, if I come back, there'll be kisses. Lovely ones, Frank. Not drunken kisses. Kisses with dreams in them. Kisses that come from life, not death."

This one is a wonderful pocket sized noir (my copy was only 116 pages). It pretty much contains everything I could ask for from the genre, filled with moral ambiguity, quick dialogue with deeper meanings and a twisty little plot. It also contains some rather shocking moments, with fairly brutal violence, profanity and scenes of sexuality. I say this not because it’s extreme by today’s standards (it certainly isn’t) but coming out in 1934, this one must have been a hell of a surprise for some readers. In fact, a little research let me know that it was extremely controversial upon its initial release and was even banned in Boston.

The plot follows Frank, a drifter who just happens to fall into a cozy little job at a diner in rural California. The diner is owned by a Greek man named Nick Papadakis and his wife Cora. Frank and Cora hit it off and begin an affair, which turns of course given the nature of noir, into a murder plot.

The story goes some unexpected directions, and has a few great plot twists and a fairly clever ending as well. All in all, it’s fairly brilliant from a plot standpoint. As is often the case in noir though, where it stands out is the sharp and witty dialogue. Frank is filled with some great lines, as is Cora and surprisingly Nick in some of his drunken moments. My personal favorite line is when Cora suggest they make a new life, just leaving and take Nick’s car. Frank responds with: "Stealing a man’s wife, that’s nothing, but stealing his car, that’s larceny."

I can see why this story was adapted to film so many times, as it has such great potential in that format as well… though I must confess, I have seen none of the adaptations, and while I would love to now, I’m glad I hadn’t. The plot went in so many unexpected directions, that I’m glad I didn’t know where it was going until the very end.

This one is a solid 4/5 star book. It’s short, never wasting a word, and can be read in a day if you have some time… and it is well worth the time. Highly recommended.

As a brief aside, I abstolutly love the cover to my edition, which shows the title card from the 1946 film adaptation. Usually I avoid “movie tie-in” covers, but this one is just clever.

Profile Image for Lou.
879 reviews864 followers
May 26, 2012
The actions of people in the pursuit of love and happiness are sometimes unplanned spontaneous and dangerous. In this story a man comes to town and becomes involved with a married woman. They plan and plot her way out of the marriage, options on the table they want things to be clean. They have a plan, how will it unfold? Will they walk away in each other arms in happiness?

One thing for sure is there will be blood.
Well if your familiar with the authors writing and read his novel Double Indemnity you will know that his story becomes intricate and a web that his characters must free themselves from. This was another enjoyable tale of individuals and the macabre.
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I found this info on the title of the novel on good old Wikipedia..

The title is something of a non sequitur in that nowhere in the novel does a postman appear, nor is one even alluded to. The title's meaning has therefore often been the subject of speculation. William Marling, for instance, suggested that Cain may have taken the title from the sensational 1927 case of Ruth Snyder. Snyder was a woman who, like Cora in Postman, had conspired with her lover to murder her husband. It is recognized that Cain used the Snyder case as an inspiration for his 1943 novel Double Indemnity; Marling believes it was also a model for the plot and the title of Postman. In the real-life case, Snyder said she had prevented her husband from discovering the changes she had made to his life insurance policy by telling the postman to deliver the policy's payment notices only to her, and instructing him to ring the doorbell twice as a signal indicating he had such a delivery for her.
In the preface to Double Indemnity, however, Cain gave a specific, and entirely different, explanation of the origin the title for The Postman Always Rings Twice, writing that it came from a discussion he had had with screenwriter Vincent Lawrence. According to Cain, Lawrence spoke of the anxiety he felt when waiting for the postman to bring him news on a submitted manuscript—specifically noting that he would know when the postman had finally arrived because he always rang twice. Cain then lit upon that phrase as a title for his novel. Upon discussing it further, the two men agreed such a phrase was metaphorically suited to Frank's situation at the end of the novel.
With the "postman" being God, or Fate, the "delivery" meant for Frank was his own death as just retribution for murdering Nick. Frank had missed the first "ring" when he initially got away with that killing. However, the postman rang again, and this time the ring was heard: Frank is wrongly convicted of having murdered Cora, and then sentenced to die. The theme of an inescapable fate is further underscored by the Greek's escape from death in the lovers' first murder attempt, only to be done in by their second one.
In his biography of Cain, Roy Hoopes recounts the conversation between Cain and Lawrence, only he extends Lawrence's remarks. He did not merely say that the postman always rang twice, but rather that he was sometimes so anxious waiting for the postman that he would go into his backyard to avoid hearing his ring. It was no good, however, for if the postman's first ring was not noticed, his second one, even from the backyard, would be.
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Profile Image for Haniye.
111 reviews36 followers
June 20, 2022
کلا پروسه جالبی داشت. خیلی روان بود و ذهن رو خسته نمی‌کرد. یه جاهاییش یکم داستانای زرد پیش میومد ولی اونقدرا هم بد نبود.
امتیاز واقعی: 3.5
بعضی وقتا درگیر چیزی میشی که میدونی نباید بشی
میدونی اگه این کارو بکنی تهش میبازی
ولی میری جلو چون فکر میکنی ارزششو داره
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تویی که دیگه قلبت نمیتپه!
Profile Image for صان.
402 reviews245 followers
April 4, 2016
داستان خوب بود. غافلگیری های خوبی داشت. خوب پیچونده بود شخصیت هارو به هم و جالب تموم شد. اما من زیاد خوشم نیومد. نمیدونم داستان چی باید داشته باشه تا خوشم بیاد ولی اون چیز هرچی هست، نداشت. اما کار قوی ای بود به نظر من. سه ستاره فقد برا اینه که به سلیقه من خوش نیومد. البته بعضی جاها نمیفهمیدم چه دیالوگیرو کی داره میگه و یخورده پیچ میخورد که چه اتفاقی افتاده و یهو انگار یه صحنه ای پریده میشد، ولی جز اون، بقیه چیزاش خوب بود. مخصوصن اخر داستان که هی ورق برمیگشت.
درکل، توصیه میکنم!
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