Erin W's Reviews > The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and Selected Stories

The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pie... by James M. Cain
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2058330
's review
May 27, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: fiction, on-my-shelves, 2011, book-club, 2013, american-lit-challenge

Read April-May 2011: The Postman Always Rings Twice & Double Indemnity

Even though I love noir movies, I've read very little of the pulp fiction from which those movies drew their inspiration. They vary widely in quality, like all genres of fiction, but Cain is one of the masters here. The two novellas that I read (both are contained, along with his novel Mildred Pierce and a handful of short stories, in a lovely Library of America edition) are dirty fun. The characters are written a bit flat--deliberately, laconic, mysterious, sometimes immoral without motivation. If that sounds a bit revolting to you, then you are totally not the market for this work. If you want to revel amongst criminals and sex maniacs, 1930s style, this is a great place to start. There is something especially American about Cain's crime stories that I like; something borne out of two poles of the Great Depression and the American Dream.

The Postman Always Rings Twice is about a drifter who gets seduced by a housewife into murdering her husband for his money. Double Indemnity is about a straight-laced insurance man who also gets seduced by a housewife into murdering her husband for the money. Beyond that, the actual circumstances of the two stories are quite different--both how the murders are executed, how the murderers fare, whether any of it all works out for them. Neither story has really got a redeemable character--maybe the insurance man--but I find a lot of entertainment value in seeing characters make morally corrupt choices and suffer (or not suffer) the consequences.

Read January 2013: Mildred Pierce
flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce and Selected Stories.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

May 27, 2011 – Shelved
June 3, 2011 – Shelved as: fiction
June 3, 2011 – Shelved as: on-my-shelves
September 21, 2011 – Shelved as: 2011
February 21, 2012 – Shelved as: book-club
January 9, 2013 –
page 220
37.04%
January 9, 2013 –
page 220
37.04% "Just started Mildred Pierce, which is a part of this collection."
January 9, 2013 –
page 232
39.06%
January 10, 2013 –
page 244
41.08% ""Grass widow! From now on, you're fast." This book is gonna break my heart, isn't it?"
January 10, 2013 –
page 261
43.94%
January 13, 2013 –
page 305
51.35%
January 14, 2013 –
page 325
54.71%
January 16, 2013 –
page 335
56.4%
January 17, 2013 –
page 369
62.12%
January 17, 2013 –
page 377
63.47%
January 18, 2013 –
page 392
65.99%
January 18, 2013 –
page 415
69.87%
January 18, 2013 –
page 451
75.93%
January 19, 2013 –
page 466
78.45%
January 20, 2013 –
page 521
87.71%
January 23, 2013 –
page 571
96.13%
Started Reading
January 25, 2013 –
page 594
100.0%
January 25, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 28, 2013 – Shelved as: 2013
January 28, 2013 – Shelved as: american-lit-challenge

No comments have been added yet.