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MILDRED PIERCE by James M. Cain Kirkus Star


by James M. Cain

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1941
ISBN: 0679723218
Publisher: Knopf

The author of The Postman Always Rings Twice and Serenade turns from the shock technique of both of these to present an incisive, full length portrait of a woman in business, and her emotional dependency on her coldblooded, greedy, captious daughter -- Veda. There is much of Dreiser in the portraiture, a solid, sound picture of personality and emotional strains and stresses, tensed to breaking points. There is also a thematic resemblance to Fannie Hurst's Imitation of Life. In slow, sure fashion Mildred emerges, in all her strong weaknesses and weak strengths, in her relations with the husband she kicks out, with her lovers, and with Veda, whom she fears and respects. And there is her golden touch in the restaurant business, originating in her ability to make pies. A climax is reached when Veda, now a radio star, steals her mother's second husband, Monty, and Mildred, stripped of her wealth, daughter and possessions, remarries her first husband. Less thunder and lightning, less flamboyance, than in his previous books -- but there is the same knowledge of people and narrative momentum which carries the book, and the reader, right along. Sure sales and rentals.