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The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934)

by James M. Cain

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,8081063,523 (3.72)265
An amoral young tramp.  A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband.  A problem that has only one grisly solution--a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America's bleak underside, and was acknowledged by Albert Camus as the model for The Stranger.… (more)
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» See also 265 mentions

English (97)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (106)
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
I'm more accustomed to noir from an impartial observer's perspective (e.g. private eye), so this took some getting used to. Ended up liking it more than I thought I would. ( )
  beautifulshell | Aug 27, 2020 |
Reading a classic is always a scary proposition. There is a story and expectation built up in the mind, its easy to fear that the actual reading will be a disappointment.

Luckily I had never seen either of the films made out of this book, so my only expectations were that it was a "classic" and that it sat on the edge of the dark noir crime genre. While much shorter than I anticipated (though fitting for a novel written 80 years ago, granted), it was a fun, quick, titillating read of love, murder, and a hot California summer. ( )
  kodermike | Jul 31, 2020 |
Found this hard to believe that it was first published in 1934. A drifter and a sullen young wife are powerfully attracted & speedily decide they need to murder her husband.

Cinematic, with a-moral trash characters, narrated by 24 year old Frank Chambers. Authentic dialogue & spare descriptions. Only 116 pages, the novel, like the characters it reveals, wasting no words. Why have I never heard of James M. Cain, the author? A classic in the Bonny & Clyde mould. ( )
  LARA335 | Mar 28, 2020 |
When Frank Chambers begins work for the owner of a small California roadside "joint", he begins a journey that will end in ways he couldn't begin to imagine. He falls hard for the beautiful owner's wife, Cora, and with her plots to kill him. What comes after is a series of events that will forever change the lives of all involved.

The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic noir crime novel in every sense of the word. The stark writing style threw me off at first, as I'm usually reading novels with rich, deep detail, but it seemed to fit with the style of the story. ( )
  BookishHooker | Dec 16, 2019 |
Cain's novels are so logically paced and careful to establish only the bare minimum required plot elements to edge the story to its conclusion the result is as excellent a lesson in the power of concision as any. This novel is no exception. The dialogue crackles. The morality gets real gray. The racism and violence against women is... sigh... also here. A product of its un-woke time. If those aspects aren't too annoying for you this novel is a great way to spend a few hours. ( )
  Adrian_Astur_Alvarez | Dec 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cain, James M.primary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berritz, SabineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dons, AageTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hoog, ElseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Huhtala, EeroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kovács, GyörgyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
López Cruz, FedericoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pedrolo, Manuel deTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salvatorelli, FrancoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tucci, StanleyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Vincent Lawrence
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They threw me off the hay truck about noon.
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This is the main work for the original book. It should not be combined with any adaptation (e.g., film adaptation), abridgement, etc.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

An amoral young tramp.  A beautiful, sullen woman with an inconvenient husband.  A problem that has only one grisly solution--a solution that only creates other problems that no one can ever solve. First published in 1934 and banned in Boston for its explosive mixture of violence and eroticism, The Postman Always Rings Twice is a classic of the roman noir. It established James M. Cain as a major novelist with an unsparing vision of America's bleak underside, and was acknowledged by Albert Camus as the model for The Stranger.

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Description in Albatross 239 (1935): A murderer's story in his own words, this vivid 'super-shocker' with its sidelights on the underworld and its revelation of the forces which drive men and women to crime is unusually thrilling. Frank Chambers 'hobo' and tough is far from being the usual 'killer'. His meeting with and love for a woman as primitive and uneducated as himself and their attempt to get rid of the woman's husband is the beginning of a tale as dramatic and drastic as can be imagined behind which the reader is able to watch the mind of the tramp who is the narrator and to gauge the character of the woman reflected in his confessions. How they both fare at the hands of fate and the police is as neat a piece of tragic irony as one can find.
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