Philippa's Reviews > The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
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's review
Nov 26, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: book-group, crime, read-in-2011, kindle, because-of-goodreads
Recommended to Philippa by: Pulp Fiction Book Group, Knowledge Lost
Recommended for: Fans of the Crime Genre everywhere and Anyone after a quick, easy read for a Sunday afternoon!
Read from December 03 to 04, 2011

The Postman Always Rings Twice tells the story of Frank, a bit of a drifter, when he happens to meet Cora and fall in love. Unfortunately, Cora is already married and refuses to just run away with Frank and live on the road. Between them they hatch a plan to try and solve all their problems (view spoiler) and ultimately chaos ensues.

Although only a very short novella this certainly packs a punch. There’s an overwhelming sense of doom throughout the entire story, you sense that these two characters driven purely by sexual desire and greed must at some stage have their comeuppance. Cain is also masterly at not wasting a word on unnecessary descriptions or dialogue and in many ways this makes the story very fast paced. For me, I also found that I could therefore perfectly imagine the story as it made sense to me. I didn’t have to imagine the characters in any way limited by the author’s description or ideas of how they should be, they could purely be what seemed most natural to me in the context presented. The limited description also highlighted the realism and violence present in the story, the world wasn't ‘softened’ or ‘hardened’ for dramatic effect it simply was, as it was.

In many ways, the writing style reminds me of the way a lot of kindle shorts are now done, with the aim of transporting the reader to a completely self-contained all-absorbing incident. Whilst Cain clearly influenced many authors at the time, a modern day impact also seems apparent. Not stories for learning about the self, but for observing events as they unfold and being entertained.

Ultimately, I’d recommend it to all. Especially fans of the crime genre, who should be intrigued by this slightly different take. It’s so short after all, what do you have to lose?

I'd also be interested to see how it has been translated in to a film.
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