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The cocktail waitress by James M. Cain
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The cocktail waitress

by James M. Cain

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» See also 5 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I must admit that I didn't get into this one straight away, but by the third chapter it got to me and then I couldn't put it down. Being a bit of a fan of this genre, I'm sorry to say that I had worked it out early in the piece, but I still enjoyed the ride. The story, written in first person, follows the life of recently widowed, hard-done by waitress, Joan. Nasty, amusing, and well worth the read. ( )
  SarahEBear | Nov 16, 2017 |
There is something about Cain's writing
which makes you not want to put it down until you finish it. It is, of course, another tale of greed,love, betrayal, despair. It continues many of the same themes as Postman and Double Indemnity. It is
interestingly narrated through a woman's point of view and Cain pulls that off very successfully. She is a femme fatale or is she? As Editor Ardai notes in an afterword, there is a tension in the book because you have to decide if the narrator is reporting the events accurately.

Joan Medford got married at seventeen after finding herself pregnant. He turned out to be a louse, a drunk, a loser who couldn't pay his bills, and somewhat of a wifebeater. At his funeral, there are not-so-veiled references from the husband's family that Joan arranged for the
husband's death. With the house on the verge of foreclosure, Joan takes a job down the street as a cocktail waitress, wearing the skimpiest outfit imaginable and showing her assets. She meets a rich
old man who she can barely stomach the idea of touching but who is madly in love with her and a young man who is involved with plans and schemes, but who drives her wild.

The book takes the reader through Joan's journey as she navigates between these two men and the suspicious young policeman who thinks she offed her husband. It is a great read. Cain has a way of developing his characters that really gives them depth.

Highly recommend this book for fans of old fashioned noir fiction of Cain or Woolrich.
( )
  DaveWilde | Sep 22, 2017 |
As a Cain novel it is exactly what you should expect. The afterward is an unexpected treat, talking about the circumstances that lead to the novel's delayed publication and giving examples of the editorial difficulty in producing a work without any input from the original author. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
This is one nasty book. Not so much for the content, but for the way Cain messes with the reader.

You get the waitress telling you a story about hard times, death and money. You feel for her. Then, it dawns on you--she is a typical Cain woman, tough and clawing her way through men.

Cain’s final note laced with Thalidomide lets you in on what he really thinks of her. Maybe all women. Cain was one nasty guy.

Finally, this book is a posthumous construction from many drafts. It feels it. The editor put together a book, but one you wish Cain lived a little longer to finish.
( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
This was a strange noir novel, that I couldn't put down, but I can't say that I really loved it. Is the main character -- Joan -- a gold-digger, a murderer, a nymphomaniac, or just plain lucky? Is it pulp fiction or a lurid carnal story? Probably a bit of both! ( )
  exfed | May 9, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
James M. Cainprimary authorall editionscalculated
Koelsch, MichaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I first met Tom Barclay at my husband's funeral, as he recalled to me later, though he made so little impression on me at the time that I had no recollection of ever having seen him before.
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A rerelease of a classic tale by the New Yorker journalist and author of The Postman Always Rings. Following her husband's death in a suspicious car accident, beautiful young widow Joan Medford is forced to take a job serving drinks in a cocktail lounge to make ends meet and to have a chance of regaining custody of her young son. At the job she encounters two men who take an interest in her, a handsome young schemer who makes her blood race and a wealthy but unwell older man who rewards her for her attentions with a $50,000 tip and an unconventional offer of marriage.… (more)

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