The Postman Always Rings Twice
So I Google'd it and found a blog online from the Library of Congress.
Apparently a reader had written Cain much the same - why this title?? The author responded that it came from the custom/tradition of the English and Irish letter carriers who "ring twice" when delivering mail - and Cain responded 'doubled as a metaphor for the delayed justice meted out to Frank and Cora, the killers, with “postman” standing in for “justice.” '(less)
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. ...more
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 ...more
Frank Chambers is a con artist and a bum who ...more
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 opp ...more
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 j ...more
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." ...more
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 ...more
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!...more
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 overl ...more
Stealing a man's wife, that's nothing, but stealing his car, that's larceny. ~The Postman Always Rings TwiceIf 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 publicat ...more
"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 boo ...more
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 a ...more
One thing for sure is there will be blood.
Well if your familiar with the authors writing and read his novel Double Indemnit ...more
"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. ...more
At first it was a little boring. The narrative was not captivating, so I wanted to leave it but the story kept me glued to the book. I couldn't understand if this was a one or five star book. After 50 pages I couldn't put this down. This was fun and at the same time sad to read. Highly recommended! ...more
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 forev ...more
After my huge disappointment with Dashiell Hammett's "The Thin Man," I knew I could find the antidote with a re-read of James M. Cain's masterpiece, "The Postman Always Rings Twice." Thin is thin and noir is noir and Cain's first person novella stands out as the noirest of them all.
Since we know the perps from the beginning, this is never a whodunnit, not even a how-did-they-finally-get-caught mystery novel. This is Cain's search among the ruins of lust, betrayal, suspicion, confession, love and ...more
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He was born into an Irish Catholic family in Annapolis, Maryland, the son of a prominent educator and an opera singer. He inh ...more