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The Baby in the Icebox and Other Short Fiction (Anglais) Relié – 1 septembre 1981

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Book by Cain James M

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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 4.2 étoiles sur 5 10 commentaires
12 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Raising Cain 16 septembre 2008
Par Alfred Johnson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
I have reviewed James M. Cain's two major works The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity elsewhere in this space. He is justly famous for those little literary potboilers. Not as well known, although they should be, are his short stories that are of the same caliber with the same kind of plot exploration and with quirkily little endings, a la O. Henry. The definitive example of this little collection is the title work-Baby In The Icebox. Here we have the inevitable California male drifter of indeterminate morals, the adulterous housewife of vague if intense longings, the seemingly inevitable symbolically meaningful wild cats that populate many of Cain's works and the intense, almost too intense, sexual stirrings that make the term potboiler very apt. The other stories follow with their own little twists. And hovering just below the surface is a literary examination of class, race and sex in 1930's America that seldom gets this kind of inspection not matter what period we are in. These will keep you glued to the page, read them.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Some of the best noir shorts 6 mars 2010
Par K. Swanson - Publié sur
Format: Broché
Cain is justly famous for his three classic novels (Postman, Pierce, and Indemnity), but deserves more praise than he usually gets as a short story writer. These tales feature much of what makes his longer works excellent: sharp psychological portraits, lust and revenge hovering over all, a vivid sense of 1930s Southern California, and an endlessly wry narrator's take on everything. But these stories pare it all to the bone, and in most cases that makes Cain's taut, sinewy prose even more concise.

The brief intros by Hoopes are interesting and a nice addition, but I'd recommend reading the stories first, then trying the intros to avoid any spoilers.

The highlight among these tales, Baby packs a lot of wallop into a very few pages. The characters emerge quickly and distinctly and the cat subplot dovetails perfectly and provides a satisfying conclusion. There is always a sense of justice in Cain's works, and here it's particularly pleasant.

Joy Ride and Embezzler are two other fine works in this collection, but each of the stories is worth reading. They might not all be perfect, but they're all pure Cain, and that's as good as this genre ever got, Hammett and Chandler included.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting but dated 19 août 2013
Par Aaron C. Brown - Publié sur
Format: Format Kindle
I am not a great James M. Cain fan. I love the three big movies made from his work Mildred Pierce, Double Indemnity and The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) (or pretty good but not great the 1981 version of Postman), but most of the quality is due to the screenwriters, directors and actors. Moreover, all three are dated, they are great as much for what they say about their eras as for the characters, plot or drama. None can be updated successfully. A timeless variant, every bit as good as those three, is The Man Who Wasn't There, which is in part a homage to Cain's movies but not to his books.

Anyway, the books are more dated and less interesting than the movies. Much of their success was due to shock value at the time of publication, something that will not impress modern readers, especially when compared to noir masters. The lesser movies based on Cain's work, and Cain's unsuccessful direct screenwriting, are forgettable or worse. His signature twist, that the criminals get away with it but are so wracked by guilt they confess or kill themselves, would need a better writer to carry off (fortunately, movie production codes forbade putting this in the film versions).

I knew that Cain had been famous as a newspaper and magazine writer before his Hollywood career, but had read only one or two of his stories. So I was curious enough to download this e-book version of an older collection of stories. I'm glad I did. Some of the stories are quite good, and collectively they did a lot to flesh out my understanding of Cain and his work. Alfred Johnson mentioned a comparison to O. Henry, but I don't agree. There are some last paragraph or last sentence twists, but they are a minor feature, no more surprising than are done by many other authors. The editor mentioned that Cain was a big Ring Lardner fan, and that influence was more obvious to me. Cain does not reach the heights of either bitterness or humor of Lardner, but you can definitely see the connection. And Cain was a better reporter than Lardner was a sportswriter (in the sense of telling what happened at the field as opposed to capturing the essence of the game in fiction).

Some of the best material in the book captures forgotten aspects of rural American history, fanning bees, mine blow outs, volunteer fire company fights; making their human sides come alive like Thomas Hardy did for agricultural England. Generally speaking, I liked the earlier material better than the later stuff.

The editor's comments were oddly repetitive and confusing about chronology, they could have benefited from another round of editing. Quis emend ipsos emendators? Nevertheless, some of the anecdotes and history gave insight into the stories.

Overall the book has some fair to pretty good writing by an author who is more interesting because he was very popular for a time, and for the works he inspired or blazed a path for, than for his actual stories. Of course James M. Cain fans should read it, as well as people interested in the history of American popular writing. Others, I think, will find it mildly entertaining but forgettable.
4 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 a fine collection for Cain fans 28 avril 2012
Par danielx - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This volume includes some real gems, including "The Baby in the Ice Box" itself, a work which (like "Postman...") expresses Cain's lifelong interest in jungle cats (sneak preview: the baby in the story survives, which is more than can be said of another character). Another is "The Birthday Party", a touchingly sad coming - of - age story that shows how far beyond the noir genre Cain's talents extended. Various other worthy stories are included, although some are mainly of historical interest.

Of particular value to fans of Cain's work are the biographical / historical essays included herein; they were written by Roy Hoopes, who edited this volume and who published a full biography of Cain in 1982. I have learned a lot about Cain from this work, and gained a deeper appreciation for his career as a writer.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Becoming James M Cain 24 mars 2013
Par JENNIFER SPERRY - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Written when James M Cain was finding his voice, fascinating to see the progression. His opening line from The Postman Always Rings Twice, "They threw me off the hay truck about noon," is often taught in writing class and is cited as one of the great opening lines in pulp fiction. This book shows how he got there.
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