Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Report: The Postman Always Rings Twice

I love writers like James Cain. This is a small book, barely longer than a short story. Every single word counts. There is absolutely no wasted imagery in the text.

"I kissed her. Her eyes were shining up at me like two blue stars. It was like being in church."

Whoa! Seriously, folks...that's just pure poetry.

The Postman Always Rings Twice was written in 1934. Considered quite scandalous, it was banned in Boston for being just too, too racy. It's a mystery written in the noir style popular at the time. In fact, many critics say James Cain was "The Master of Noir", because he broke away from the hard-boiled detective stories popular before Postman and developed crime fiction into something far more sinister, deeper, and darker.

The story is so compelling that it's been made into a movie on four different occasions. If you rent a copy, get the 1946 version with Lana Turner and John Garfield.

Briefly, the book tells the story of a grifter's accidental meet up with the Greek owner of a diner. Then...there's adultery, there's violence, guys get punched, gals get hysterical.

A lot is packed into barely one hundred pages. Fasten your seatbelt, it's quite a ride.

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