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The Postman Always Rings Twice

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Written by James Cain

Narrated by Stanley Tucci


The Postman Always Rings Twice

Written by James Cain

Narrated by Stanley Tucci

ratings:
4/5 (133 ratings)
Length:
2 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Mar 29, 2005
ISBN:
9780060840778
Format:
Audiobook

Description

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.

Publisher:
Released:
Mar 29, 2005
ISBN:
9780060840778
Format:
Audiobook

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Reviews

What people think about The Postman Always Rings Twice

4.2
133 ratings / 61 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    A simple novel about two people who set about to murder a woman's husband and the consequences that follow. However, the story does not end there. It is a meditation on murder, with brief touches of eroticism, and legal loopholes filtered with greed. A satisfying read, albeit a short one.3.5
  • (3/5)
    James M. Cain's novel "The Postman Always Rings Twice" is a gritty story that is driven along by the plot at a pretty good clip. The story is pretty enjoyable, though I didn't care for the convoluted unraveling of the central crime in the tale by one of the attorneys. In this Depression-era novel, Frank starts working at a diner owned by Nick Papadakis and his wife Cora, who is unhappy in her life. Frank and Nick fall for each other and disaster follows fairly quickly.The best things about the novel were that the characters were drawn really well, the overall tone of the book and its pacing. There were some aspects of the plot I that I didn't care for as much, but overall I thought it was a good read.
  • (5/5)
    Published 1934. A young vagrant and the sexy bored wife of a restaurant owner plan to murder her husband. Excellent characters, plot and writing. Cain‘s first book was an instant success and made into a movie. I watched the movie for a #booktomovie challenge. #CenturyofMysteryChallenge too! Recommended for mystery lovers.“No one has ever stopped in the middle of one of Cain‘s books.” - Saturday Review
  • (3/5)
    I enjoyed this book. Written in the '30s, it is in the same "noirish" genre as such books as "The Big Sleep". Unlike "The Big Sleep", the plot is very straightforward: a drifter and a bored housewife/waitress attempt to murder her husband and almost get away with it, twice.I liked the confessional aspect of the narrative, it makes the ending so much more interesting.
  • (5/5)
    James M. Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice is a structurally sound tent pole of the noir genre. While it inspired an entire generation of crime writers, you’ll be shocked to know that it was met with a fair share of criticism when initially published. Due to a high volume of violence and sexuality (for its time), the book was shunned by critics and even so far as banned in Boston. Despite best efforts to keep the novel out of the hands and minds of American readers, the book’s originality and Cain’s undeniable talent ushered the novel into instant classic territory. It is now widely regarded as one of the most important crime novels of the 20th century.

    Frank Chambers rolls into town with nothing more on his mind than his next meal. He finds himself in a quaint roadside diner and after jawing with the owner, he finds himself with a job. Before long, an attraction sparks between Frank and the owner’s wife, Cora. The two conspire to knock off her husband and hit the road but as one knows, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

    Frank and Cora are made for one another; the two are about as rotten as politician’s promises. They’re blinded by desire and consumed with the idea of life on the road and it certainly doesn't do them any favors considering how likable their mark is. In the end, I guess that’s the key to really great noir fiction; you've got to make your protagonists as irredeemable as possible and ain't nothing worth saving when it comes to these two.

    For those like me who were a little bewildered by the meaning behind the novel’s title, there’s an excellent explanation on Wikipedia that made me love the book that much more. Obviously there’s spoilers ahead if you choose to check it out but I recommend giving it a look.

    Also posted @ Every Read Thing
  • (4/5)
    I had no idea of the twists and turns that I would find in "The Postman Always Rings Twice". I had wondered why this thin book still had a reputation today. Now I know why it remains a classic in the noir genre.
  • (4/5)
    A tragic love story where a drifter falls in love with a married woman, they plot to kill her husband, their lust gets in the way of common sense, and it ends in tragedy. A very lurid story of 1930's noir that holds you to the end.
  • (4/5)
    A drifter becomes obsessed with his boss's wife, and together the two plot murder!It's fun to read these early examples of a genre and see where all the tropes and cliches originated. This short, down-and-dirty story with hopeless, desperate characters no one would like launched the noir genre. The whole thing has a gritty, greasy feel, which so many writers have tried to emulate since. Particularly memorable for me was the penultimate scene, when the woman is killed in a car accident; the visceral horror of that final image is hardly matched by contemporary writers.
  • (4/5)
    An ultimately weird book with a brilliant all-american workman narrator that's a pleasure to read. But also pretty heavy - like most of what I would call hardboiled. But unlike Chandler or Hammett it's truly depressing and morbid, and just generally more noir-ish. A great quick and grimy story.
  • (3/5)
    Of course, this is noir. One really shouldn't think too much about noir. It's all about mood and chemistry. The mood is pretty deftly done. The chemistry? I guess the 1930s style of writing just doesn't impart chemistry between our two anti-heroes to me. But it might have to the folks back then.
  • (4/5)
    Short little noir novel that packs some nice punches. I wasn't really crazy about any of the characters, but I was invested in the story from the first line to the last. Good stuff.
  • (3/5)
    A drifter happens into a run down cafe run by a beautiful woman and the Greek husband she doesn't love. The attraction between the two is immediate, and dangerous. They know they're not good for one another, but can't stay apart. Of course no good can come of any of this. As they reveal to one another their capacity for evil, they discover they can't quite trust even each other. This was a short read. For some reason I expected more.
  • (2/5)
    Interesting movie, boring book.
  • (3/5)
    A short, fast-paced novella about a drifter who has an affair with a married woman and resorts to drastic measures to stay with her.

    At times confusing, POV isn't always immediately clear and at times it feels like words or sentences are missing, it was an interesting read. The ending though was clear from the moment the book started.

    I also think it was too dialogue heavy. For a noir it was rather undescriptive. I think the film would would better in this instance.

    Worth a quick read though.
  • (4/5)
    Compact, vivid, and enormously influential.
  • (3/5)
    I don't know what the title has to do with anything, since, as far as I can tell, no postman every rings once, let alone twice. What the book does have is a drifter who takes up a job at a roadside dinner and after about two minutes of meeting the proprietor's wife, launches into a tawdry affair. It thus follows, of course, that drifter and femme fatale, must now murder the husband to be free to have each other. While this was a quick and snappy read, there is virtually no characterization. The story consists of sex and (bungling) murder, which is fine and good, but I there wasn't much for me to care whether they succeeded or got caught or not. I'm not even particularly thrown by the sexism and racism, given the time period and the fact that most of it came out the main character's mouths, both of whom were not very likeable anyway. Things did get more interesting as the story twisted this way and that way, not entirely unexpectedly. It was, I suppose, an entertaining enough story, however, I wasn't invested in it much one way or the other.
  • (4/5)
    Review - This novel is one of those "hard boiled" crime fiction novels where everyone is evil and selfish and the world in general is a bad place. It's all about money and sex.A bum, Frank Chambers, is hired by a owner, The Greek, of highway side cafe and petrol pump, as a helping hand. He seduces his wife Cora. Later both plan to kill the Greek and succeed in their second attempt. When they are brought in front of the courts they escape punishment by a mixup in the insurance company investigation but both betray each other by that time. What follows is a life of suspicion.It's a good book for the lovers of such genre of books. I for one don't like it so much.
  • (5/5)
    Wow! Or, more properly, slam bang thank you ma'am. Published in 1934, the violence and sexuality of the book was enough to get it banned in Boston, and still carries a powerful punch. The story-line won't let go -- you may not like the characters, but you have to find out what happens to them, and the plot twists keep you looking first one way and then the other. The style is pared down in the extreme -- mostly dialog -- but still strongly evokes a specific time and place, and specific characters. I've never seen a movie version, but i definitely want to see the Lana Turner/John Garfield version.
  • (4/5)
    A classic crime/fiction story written by James Cain and made into a movie starring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange. A short, fast-paced read which I have been enjoying.
  • (3/5)
    Nowhere near as good as Double Indemnity, and where Mildred Pierce has too much physical description, Postman has too little - except in the final crash scene, where the physical description is so disgusting that it takes away from the emotional impact. I am now recovering by reading a Laura Ingalls Wilder book (although that's gonna backfire on me once the grasshoppers show up). Postman gets three stars because I admire Cain's sheer balls-out approach, and I enjoyed browsing the various covers on LibraryThing.
  • (5/5)
    I LOVED The Postman Always Rings Twice. It's hard, and fast, like a punch in the gut, and it definitely knocked the wind out of me. I love how in the moment it is - there's no motive, no explanation, just actions and consequences. And it's an absolute rush, especially since its short length means you can fly right through it and tumble out headfirst within an hour. Just a brilliant little piece of writing, I think.
  • (2/5)
    I tried. I really tried to see the merit in this. I couldn't. I've read noir and liked it. But not this one. The writing, the characters just wouldn't connect in any way.
  • (4/5)
    A tragic love story where a drifter falls in love with a married woman, they plot to kill her husband, their lust gets in the way of common sense, and it ends in tragedy. A very lurid story of 1930's noir that holds you to the end.
  • (4/5)
    So much evil- doing packed into a slender novel. A must for the fan of noir, though I liked Cain's others like Mildred Pierce and Double Indemnity a little more.
  • (4/5)
    A kind of classic fiction work - a novel made into a film. I'd wanted to read this for a while. I could see why it would make a good film - there were a lot of moments that were quite visual in it. There were also some pretty decent plot twists but overall it wasn't as dense in character as I'd thought it might be.
  • (4/5)
    Written in 1934 it tells the sexy, gritty tale of Frank Chambers, a drifter who finds himself grounded by Cora Papadakis, a married woman. Cora's beauty and instant mutual attraction leads to Frank's uncharacteristic staying put. Soon the adulterous couple is contemplating murder. The plot is timeless. Desire has led them to the devil's doorstep.
  • (3/5)
    A drifter named Frank happens upon a diner run by "The Greek". When offered a job he is reluctant at first but then spies the Greeks wife. He stays, begins an affair with the wife, and they eventually turn to murder and crime.This is in the style of a hard boiled detective novel--except there is no mystery, just two people hardened to life who don't seem to care what they have to do to get what they want. It's all described in a matter of fact way with lots of cynicism.
  • (5/5)
    This is an absolute masterpiece of noir fiction. The narrative voice is morally revolting, yet so compelling that you simply cannot put it down. The plot unfolds in a way that seems to reflect the chaos that comes as lust and greed are mixed up with love and compassion, yet even as you read it you get a feeling of inevitability and moral logic. The book snaps to a conclusion with the abrupt and shocking finality of a hangman's noose. In the end you are left with a deeper feeling for the dark tragedy of the human heart.
  • (5/5)
    Hey hey, one of my favorite books ever. Got me started on noir and was a good clean punch to the head aestheticallywise. Swift and violent, I think Dashiell Hammett called it. He was right. Its good. Besides, it'll only take you a day or two.
  • (3/5)
    James M. Cain's first novel is a short, fast thriller that was banned in Boston back when that phrase meant something, and a seminal work in the hard-boiled school of fiction. The story of an ex-convict-cum-knockaround guy in his early 20s named Frank Chambers who blows into a roadside diner/gas station/auto court (read: motel) in Glendale, California one day for a dine-'n'-dash meal but who stays on as a hired hand because he has the hots for the boss's wife, Cora, TPART is the seamy story of how Frank and Cora's animalistic lust for each other will stop at nothing, even murder. But no matter how bad Frank and Cora are, they're just babes in the woods next to the bounders, heels and grifters who wear suits....Keep your eyes peeled for the racism and racial anxiety (particularly Cora's desire to be seen as "white," as she does not see her husband, a middle-aged Greek), the class aspirations (again with Cora, but also with her husband Nick), and the Depression-era signifiers. Cain would recycle some of these elements in what is perhaps his greatest work, Mildred Pierce (which has almost nothing in common with the 1945 movie starring Joan Crawford); one might make the case that Mildred is Cora with her passions redirected towards her kid, and with slightly less motives for murder.