Friday Jan 21

PostmanRingsTwice The Postman Always Rings Twice
By James M. Cain
128 pages
Vintage, 1989
ISBN-13: 978-0679723257
Reviewed by Sunday Avery
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Book Review Editor Stephanie Brown’s Note:

James M. Cain was a master of hardboiled noir. Three of his novels are outstanding:
Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity, and The Postman Always Rings Twice. These three were made into iconic American films as well, with Double Indemnity’s script penned by Raymond Chandler. I have been a fan since my twenties. I was gratified to see that The Postman Always Rings Twice is listed as #37 in a current Amazon list of 20th century American fiction. I’ve always maintained that everyone should read James M. Cain, and I'm glad to see that they are.
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Sunday Revists the Pulp Classics: The Postman Always Rings Twice, But Lovers Just Bust That Shit In.
 
Frank Chambers and Cora Papadakis are just two ordinary Greek-hating sociopaths who like to bite each other and kill. You know, classic SoCal in the 30’s. They make rough love in the orange groves and want to go to the beach and hate Greeks like I mentioned. It’s really an everyman’s story written in speedy noir shorthand; something we can all have a laugh about with our grandmamma at Thanksgiving.
 
Or maybe you’ve never tried drowning a man in the bathtub. James M. Cain remedies that situation in this hot little 100 pages of noir splendor. Hero Frank Chambers wants what he wants; he can literally smell it. And unhappy failed actress Cora also wants what she wants, even if it means marrying someone who is “greasy.” Cain is really a glorious author, an author above all authors. He is writing some heavy Shakespearean stuff here, with Star! magazine tabloid prose. We race through sex scenes and court proceedings with cool precision, which makes The Postman Always Rings Twice saucy enough to work.
 
Seriously, I want to give the loudest soccer mom cheer and whistle whenever I heard about James Cain and his legacy of books that leave other books crumpled up in a dumpster somewhere. For every book that moons and struggles through human emotions like jealousy, rage, lust, ambition, and greed, there is a James M. Cain novel that explores these issues pitch perfect without being a pussy. The Postman Always Rings Twice is a much more sparse affair than the nature-nurture mama drama in Mildred Pierce, but both books are as satisfying as a cold American beer and a burger.
 
And how! The romance of Southern California weakens me at the knees like a picture of Alan Rickman in a cape. James Cain aided my unhealthy needs at a romantic chicken and waffles restaurant in Mildred Pierce, and now again at a gas station/hash house somewhere in the LA county. I guess it’s because I live here. SOCAL PRIDE.  Rah rah palm trees, movie stars, fast food, and spouse murder!
 
Let’s not ignore the wonderful non sequitur title, because really, no postmen happen in the book. But let’s pretend the postman is like God or something, and maybe he’s delivering…your fate. Doesn’t that make you feel impressed like you’ve just seen a puppy jump through a fire hoop? Aren’t the wheels in your head spinning? Don’t you want to change majors?
 
Conclusively, James M. Cain is a crime noir author with bonuses. He knows more about our own wickedness than we probably do, and The Postman Always Rings Twice should remind you all eerily about how much you wanted to be a starlet in Hollywood. Or maybe how handsome the new handy man looks in his tight little jumper.
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Sunday_Avery Sunday Avery reads many books and is a very judgmental person. She requires that everyone read Shirley Jackson and at least a hundred other authors. She lives in southern California and brings a lot of people to tears, especially her cat and husband.