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review 2016-11-23 00:36
The Postman Always Rings Twice
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain

It’s difficult to not make a review of THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE into a comparison the author’s most acclaimed noir novels, DOUBLE INDEMNITY. Both involve a couple who attempt to commit the perfect murder, both focus on how the main characters’ flaws manifest post-murder, and both have insurance fraud playing a major part of the proceedings. However, they both handle the subject matter in different fashions.

 

This “long short story,” which Penguin Random House claims was banned in Boston upon release, is story of a drifter who falls in love with a married woman who, naturally, has no interest in staying married for long. The story follows both the legal and psychological aftermath to committing murder, as depicted through the peaks and crashes of their illicit affair. The sex is explicit, the action is violent, and corruption reigns over all—Cain leaves nothing to the imagination, and the book can still shock readers to this day. The hard-boiled narrative has a raw quality to it that few authors ever manage to pull off, and makes the grit feel more like realistic than stylistic in turn.

 

Despite the interesting premise, the book doesn’t quite deliver in execution. While it’s hard to ignore Cain’s unique voice, it’s also very, very apparent that this was a first novel. It skims past some of the best plot twists and character development, while lingering too long on boring diversions and shallow introspection. History hasn’t been kind to THE POSTMAN ALWAYS RINGS TWICE either, since the story feels generic in the sea of noir fiction that developed in the eighty-two years following the book’s original publication.

 

While I’m not one to be put off by the poor representation of ladies in early 20th century man-oriented literature, the main character’s attitude towards women becomes irritating after a while. The only two ladies in the entire book seem to exist to fall for his uncharismatic attitude within five minutes or be straight up ogled by the narration. It’s especially frustrating in the terms of Cora, the femme fatale of the story. Cain would rather describe the exact size and perkiness of her breasts instead of her personality, despite having all the tools to make a dynamic character out of her. At least she had a satisfying arc in between the descriptions of her figure.

 

In the end, it’s surprisingly mediocre for such a landmark piece of roman noir. Readers would be better off with DOUBLE INDEMNITY, as it’s better written and tackles the subject matter with greater finesse.

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text 2016-11-18 21:44
Because I really needed to buy another book as I sit next to a stack of 15+ unread books next to my chair...
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain

[Book: The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain]

 

I've read two other Cain novels, Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce. While I liked both of them, both of the film versions were far superior than the books they were based on. Since the 1946 filmed version of Postman is a highly regarded classic film noir, I'm kind of curious if Hollywood's score is going to be three-for-three.

 

Normally I would have this posted under a "0% finished" update, but BL is being super slow today. I haven't been able to add it to my shelves at all!

 

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review 2016-11-07 14:19
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain

It was alright. I don't think i'll ever read it again. I didn't like the dialogue, but the general plot was good.

 

*Review written on November 14, 2014.*

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review 2016-04-20 22:08
Rotten Relationships...
The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain

Rotten people, rotten souls, rotten motivations and bittersweet justice.
It was good.

I have another book by the same author and I am sure I am gonna read it very soon.

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review 2016-03-17 17:54
DOUBLE INDEMNITY by James M. Cain
Double Indemnity - James M. Cain
  The book the movie with Fred McMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, and Edward G. Robinson is based upon. I liked Keyes. He called it like it was but he could not prove it. I cannot say I liked the book better than the movie. There are changes in the movie but the story line is similar. The endings are different but both are plausible endings. I'm glad I read it. It is one of the few books of which I do not hate the movie.
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