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The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M.…
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The Postman Always Rings Twice (original 1934; edition 2005)

by James M. Cain (Author)

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1,857713,722 (3.73)167
Member:spwebdesign
Title:The Postman Always Rings Twice
Authors:James M. Cain (Author)
Info:Orion (2005), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 128 pages
Collections:Owned (in London), Books Read (since 2005), To give away, on loan to A.R.
Rating:****
Tags:crime, fiction

Work details

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain (1934)

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» See also 167 mentions

English (65)  Dutch (2)  French (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
Here is a book about a man and a woman who have a love affair and keep attempting to kill her husband.

It's fun.

But something I didn't quite get was the title--there were no postmans? Thank you Wikipedia, which told me it could mean several things. The two most interesting being:

1--At the time Cain wrote the novel, there had been a case in the papers about a woman who wanted to kill her husband, and arranged that the husband wouldn't find out about the changes she made to his insurance policy by having the postman always give her mail--and rang twice to indicate a *special* package.

2--The postman is a symbol for god, and he rang twice because he originally gets away w/ a murder....but gets caught the 2nd time around.

Either way, fun stuff. Short book, definitely worth reading! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Here is a book about a man and a woman who have a love affair and keep attempting to kill her husband.

It's fun.

But something I didn't quite get was the title--there were no postmans? Thank you Wikipedia, which told me it could mean several things. The two most interesting being:

1--At the time Cain wrote the novel, there had been a case in the papers about a woman who wanted to kill her husband, and arranged that the husband wouldn't find out about the changes she made to his insurance policy by having the postman always give her mail--and rang twice to indicate a *special* package.

2--The postman is a symbol for god, and he rang twice because he originally gets away w/ a murder....but gets caught the 2nd time around.

Either way, fun stuff. Short book, definitely worth reading! ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
I read it years ago and for some reason it stuck with me, no doubt because it was about one of my favorite books from one of my favorite authors. Recently, I tried to hunt it down, entering a few keywords that I remembered into Google, to no avail.

So the other day, I found myself dropping off a bunch of books into one of those book donation kiosks and stumbled upon it, on the inside flap of the Grosset & Dunlap edition of The Postman Always Rings Twice:

"Mr. Cain has written the most engrossingly unlaydownable book that I have any memory of . . . it is so continuously exciting that if you can put it down before you've finished it, you are not the reader I think you are, and you and I have nothing in common." - Franklin P. Adams

I think he liked it.

And what he said. ( )
  BrendanPMyers | Jun 23, 2014 |
This is the second book I have read by the author, the other being Double Indemnity. unlike many other reviewers I have not seen the film and therefore began reading without any preconceived ideas of what to expect.

The novella began exactly as I expected. The sentences short, sharp and direct. This is an author who does not believe in padding out his works. You get the impression that not a single word is wasted. the only other author I have read like this has to be Cormac Macarthy. We follow a drifter (Frank Chambers) who becomes employed at a garage, soon he builds a relationship with Greek owners wife (Cora) and they become lovers. However the relationship with the Greek soon starts to come between them. What follows is a lot of planning, circumstance and suspense by the bucket load.

As with Double Indemnity I found the timescales involved a little unrealistic but this doesn't take anything away from the force of the storyline, and considering the age of the book it still appears extremely fresh. One or two other reviewers have criticised the ending, but I thought I knew what was going to happen but was totally wrong. An amazing read that will stay with me for a long long time. Cain manages to pack more into the 120ish pages that most authors could manage in a 1000 page tome. Can't wait to find some more of his works. ( )
  Bridgey | May 28, 2014 |
Considered one of the most important crime novels of the 20th century, The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain is a masterpiece of noir. This story had such shock value that it was banned upon publication in some areas of the United States and Canada. And although the title is very well known it has a mystique of it’s own as there are no postmen or doorbells in the book. Apparently Cain heard a screenwriter talk about how gut-wrenchingly anxious he was while waiting for the mail to bring him news on whether or not a script had been accepted. Cain thought this phrase captured the feeling of desperation that he wanted the book to portray.

Although slightly over 100 pages in length, this is a story that is intense and gripping. The inescapable fate of three people caught up in lust, greed and violence is told with such veracity that the author doesn’t need to embellish or extend his story. The reader is drawn into many emotions, including feeling somewhat sympathetic toward Frank and Cora, but underneath it all you know they have been corrupted by their desire and their willingness to take short-cuts to get what they want.

This classic piece of noir more than stands the test of time. Both Cain’s superb writing and the originality of the story ensures this tale of twisted love will continue to enthrall it’s readers. Definitely a 5 star read for me. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | May 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (24 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James M. Cainprimary 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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They threw me off the hay truck about noon.
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Book description
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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679723250, Paperback)

Penzler Pick, April 2000: It is sometimes easy to trace a literary genre to its source, and James M. Cain's first novel, The Postman Always Rings Twice, is the noir novel that paved the way for all the noir fiction that followed. The famous film starring Lana Turner and John Garfield is notoriously dark, but the novel is even more full of despair and devoid of hope. It is a short book--little more than a novella--but its searing characterization and depiction of tawdry greed and lust is branded into every reader's memory.

Frank Chambers, a drifter, is dropped from the back of a truck at a rundown rural diner. When he spots Cora, the owner's wife, he instantly decides to stay. The sexy young woman, married to Nick, a violent and thuggish boor, is equally attracted to the younger man and sees him as her way out of her hopeless, boring life. They begin a clandestine affair and plot to kill Nick, beginning their own journey toward destruction.

Horace McCoy, David Goodis, Jim Thompson, and the other notable noir writers never achieved Cain's spare brilliance. Virtually all of his major works have been filmed, though several Hollywood studios refused to make the films, directors refused to be involved, and actors turned down roles because of their repugnance at the lack of morality inherent in all Cain's characters. Reading him may not be fit for a Sunday school class, but once you begin you will be unable to resist continuing, like picking at a painful scab or watching a tarantula inside a glass dome. --Otto Penzler

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:39 -0400)

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The sultry young wife of a diner owner conspires with an aimless drifter to murder her husband.

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