"The Postman Always Rings Twice" by James M. Cain

By EW Staff
Updated April 13, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT
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The Postman Always Rings Twice

type
  • Movie

Philip Gourevitch recommends The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
The basic story is a guy hitches a ride, ends up at a diner, and sees the Greek’s wife, who has lips that makes him ”want to mash them in for her.” It’s got adultery, it’s got murder. It’s got great courtroom reversals, it’s got passion, it’s got betrayal, it has all the elements of pulp, but it’s much bigger than that — it drills straight to the dead ends of being and nothingness — and it’s unnervingly well crafted. Cain had a perfect eye for everything that’s dark and delicious about the American hustle, and a perfect ear for our speech. This one’s written in the uncannily elegant voice of its world: California, poor, truck stop, diner, drifter-grifter land. Cain’s little novel remains eerily fresh, and when you read it you understand why Albert Camus considered it one of the great gifts of American writing.

Philip Gourevitch is the author of We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed With Our Families: Stories From Rwanda. His next book, A Cold Case, will be published in July.

The Postman Always Rings Twice

type
  • Movie
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