Margot (midnight_birth) wrote in margot_quotes,

The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain.


Title: The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Author: James M. Cain.
Genre: Fiction, crime, sexuality.
Country: U.S.
Language: English.
Publication Date: 1934.
Summary: The story is narrated by Frank Chambers, a young drifter who stops at a rural California diner for a meal and ends up working there, for the beautiful young woman, Cora, and her much older husband. Before long, Frank and Cora are caught up in an all-engulfing, explosive affair, but they have a problem. A problem that has only one grisly solution, which only creates other problems that no one can ever solve.

My rating: 7/10
My review:

♥ "Frank, do you love me?"


"Do you love me so much that not anything matters?"


"There's one way."

"Did you say you weren't really a hell cat?"

"I said it, and I mean it. I'm not what you think I am, Frank. I want to work and be something, that's all. But you can't do it without love. Do you know that, Frank? Anyway, a woman can't. Well, I've made one mistake. And I've got to be a hell cat, just once, to fix it. But I'm not really a hell cat, Frank."

"They hang you for that."

"Not if you do it right. You're smart, Frank. I never fooled you for a minute. You'll think of a way. Plenty of them have. Don't worry. I'm not the first woman that had to turn hell cat to get out of a mess."

♥ "Who's going to know if it's all right or not, but you and me?"

"You and me."

♥ "You must be a hell cat, though. You couldn't make me feel like this if you weren't."

"That's what we're going to do. Kiss me, Frank. On the mouth."

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

♥ "Give me half a chance, I got it on the cops, every time. You got to have something to tell, that's it. You got to fill in all those places, and yet have it as near the truth as you can get it. I know them. I'm tangled with them, plenty."

"You fixed it. You're always going to fix it for me, aren't you, Frank?"

"You're the only one ever meant anything to em."

"I guess I really don't want to be a hell cat."

"You're my baby."

"That's it, just your dumb baby. All right, Frank. I'll listen to you, from now on. You be the brains, and I'll work. I can work, Frank. And I work good. We'll get along."

"Sure we will."

♥ "The only one I can have a child by is you. I wish you were some good. You're smart, but you're no good."

"I'm no good, but I love you."

♥ Next thing I knew, I wads down there with her, and we were staring in each other's eyes, and locked in each other's arms, and straining to get closer. Hell could have opened for me then, and it wouldn't have made any difference. I had to have her, if I hung for it.

I had her.

♥ "I fell for you because you were smart. And now I find out you're smart. Ain't that funny? You fall for a guy because he's smart and then you find out he's smart."

♥ "No. I hated you for something you really did."

"I never hared you, Cora. I hated myself."

"I don't hate you now. I hate that Sackett. And Katz. Why couldn't they leave us alone? Why couldn't they let us fight it out together? I wouldn't have minded that. I wouldn't have minded it even if it meant—you know. We would have had our love. And that's all we ever had. But the very first time they started their meanness, you turned on me."

"And you turned on me, don't forget that."

"That's the awful part. I turned on you. We both turned on each other."

"Well, that makes it even, don't it?"

"It makes it even, but look at us now. We were up on a mountain. We were up so high, Frank. We had it all, out there, that night. I didn't know I could feel anything like that. And we kissed and sealed it so it would be there forever, no matter what happened. We had more than any two people in the world. And then we fell down. First you, and then me. Yes, it makes it even. We're down here together. But we're not up high any more. Our beautiful mountain is gone."

"Well what the hell? We're together, ain't we?"

"I guess so. But I thought an awful lot, Frank. Last night. About you and me, and the movies, and why I flopped, and the hash house, and the road, and why you like it. We're just two punks, Frank. God kissed us on the brow that night. He gave us all that two people can ever have. And we just weren't the kind that could have it. We had all that love, and we just cracked up under it. It's a big airplane engine, that takes you through the sky, right up to the top of the mountain. But when you put it in a Ford, it just shakes it to pieces. That's what we are, Frank, a couple of Fords. God is up there laughing at us."

♥ I ripped all her clothes off. She twisted and turned, slow, so they would slip out from under her. Then she closed her eyes and lay back on the pillow. Her hair was falling over her shoulders in snaky curls. Her eye was all black, and her breasts weren't drawn up and pointing up at me, but soft, and spread out in two big pink splotches. She looked like the great grandmother of every whore in the world. The devil got his money's worth that night.

♥ "Frank, I know what you've been doing. You've been lying there, trying to think of a way to kill me."

"I've been asleep."

"Don't lie to me, Frank. Because I'm not going to lie to you, and I've got something to say to you."

I thought it over a long time. Because that was just what I had been doing. Lying there beside her, just straining to think of a way I could kill her.

"All right, then. I was."

"I knew it."

"Were you any better? Weren't you going to hand me over to Sackett? Wasn't that the same thing?"


"Then we're even. Even again. Right back where we started!"

"Not quite."

"Oh yes we are." I cracked up a little, then, myself, and put my head on her shoulder. "That's just where we are. We can kid ourself all we want to, and laugh about the money, and whoop about what a swell guy the devil is to be in bed with, but that's just where we are. I was going off with that woman, Cora. We were going to Nicaragua to catch cats. And why I didn't go away, I knew I had to come back. We're chained to each other, Cora. We thought we were on top of a mountain. That wasn't it. It's on top of us, and that's where it's been ever since that night."

"Is that the only reason you came back?"

"No. It's you and me. There's nobody else. I love you, Cora. But love, when you get fear bin it, it's not love any more. It's hate."

♥ "Come on with that kiss."

"Tomorrow night, if I come back, there'll be kisses. Lovely ones, Frank. Not drunken kisses. Kisses with dreams in them. Kisses that come from life, not death."

"It's a date."

♥ I'm getting up tight now, and I've been thinking about Cora. Do you think she knows I didn't do it? After what we said in the water, you would think she would know it. But that's the awful part, when you monkey with murder. Maybe it went through her head, when the car hit, that I did it anyhow. That's why I hope I've got another life after this one. Father McConnell says I have, and I want to see her. I want her to know that it was all so, what we said to each other, and that I didn't do it. What did she have that makes me feel that way about her? I don't know. She wanted something, and she tried to get it. She tried all the wrong ways, but she tried. I don't know what made her feel that way about me, because she knew me. She called it on me plenty of times, that I wasn't any good. I never really wanted anything, but her. But that's a lot. I guess it's not often that a woman even has that.
Tags: 1930s - fiction, 1st-person narrative, 20th century - fiction, american - fiction, crime, crime noir, fiction, infidelity (fiction), law (fiction), prison life (fiction), romance, sexuality (fiction)

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