Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Postman Always Rings Twice

Title: The Postman Always Rings Twice

Author: James M Cain

Number of pages: 117

Started: 28 September 2009

Finished: 30 September 2009

Opening words:

They threw me off the hay truck about noon. I had swung on the night before, down at the border, and as soon as I got up there under the canvas, I went to sleep. I needed plenty of that, after three weeks in Tia Juana, and I was still getting it when they pulled off to one side to let the engine cool. Then they saw a foot sticking out and threw me off. I tried some comical stuff, but all I got was a dead pan, so that gag was out. They gave me a cigarette, though, and I hiked down the road to find something to eat.

You can read the first two chapters on Amazon

Plot summary:

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.

What I thought:

This was a good read. A really simple plot around trying to plan the perfect murder – and the consequences of trying to commit a crime. It was a well written book, with one of the main characters as the narrator meaning that you never quite knew whether what you were reading was entirely true, which became all the more apparent by the end. Maybe it was an accurate account and maybe it wasn’t, but that in some ways was an integral part of the plot - and part of their undoing.

It was written in a fairly economical way with no words wasted on judgements or unnecessary description. Instead the story is laid bare for you to make your own judgements and to draw your own conclusions.

An interesting plot and a good read.

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