RARA-AVIS: Re: Hammet and Cain

From: jacquesdebierue ( jacquesdebierue@yahoo.com)
Date: 01 Oct 2007

--- In rara-avis-l@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Burridge"
<stephen.burridge@...> wrote:
> I've been wondering about this. I just read "The Postman Always Rings
> Twice" for the first time last week. It was readable enough but I
was most
> struck by its apparent originality. It seemed like a more direct
> to the kind of "noir" fiction often discussed on this list than the
> detective stories of Hammett and Chandler. However, I don't know
the work
> of Cain's contemporaries particularly well, so I was wondering if it
was as
> original as it seemed.

I think it was pretty original technically (in the telling), but Nathaniel West and Horace McCoy were doing similar themes, though not specifically writing about crime. You're right that the technique that Cain uses in that novel has been enormously influential, most obviously on Higgins, but also on more recent noir writers. I don't know if or what Thompson took from Cain. Goodis seems to have a different beat, and so do Woolrich and Willeford, but it's the same type of music, in my opinion. I won't quarrel with Cain as a father figure of noir.



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