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Serenade Paperback – 23 Jun 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix (23 Jun 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780220200
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780220208
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.7 x 19.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James M. Cain was born in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1892. Having served in the US Army in World War 1, he became a journalist in Baltimore and New York in the 1920's. He later worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Cain died in 1977

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Review

the story builds to a stunning and complex climax ... how brilliant that a new generation has the chance to discover this compelling writer. (Joanna Hines GUARDIAN)

Book Description

'Cain has established a formidable reputation of furious pace, harsh and masterful realism, tough, raw speech right out of the mouths of the people' SATURDAY REVIEW

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3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 20 July 2011
Format: Paperback
With 'Mildred Pierce' being currently shown on tv, with the delectable Kate Winslet, hopefully an interest in Cain's novels will take off again. Apart from the novel already mentioned, of course he penned the great tales The Postman Always Rings Twice and, Double Indemnity (Crime Masterworks), along with other great stories, but the rest never received the popularity of these three.

This was Cain's third published book, and his second novel (the first book he had published was non-fiction). To perhaps understand this novel better it helps if you know that Cain's mother was herself an opera singer, which obviously gave him an appreciation of good music, and the opera. Indeed in some ways this novel can be seen as operatic in itself.

John Sharp, once a great baritone has gradually lost his singing voice and is washed up in Mexico City. Fallling for the simple Mexican/Indian girl Juana he finds that ultimately being with her not only brings back his voice, but his singing is arguably better than ever before. Running off together, they enter the States, albeit Juana does illegally. From becoming a film star, and then appearing at the Met, John looks as if he has hit the big time. With problems with his Hollywood contract, an old acquaintance, Winston, says he can sort it all out. But has Winston being pulling the strings on John's career?, and what is there past relationship? With Winston reporting Juana to Immigration she does the only thing she knows - fight. With John and her leaving the US, will they be able to build a new life somewhere else?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bridgey on 16 Oct 2014
Format: Paperback
My third book by Cain (Double Indemnity & The Postman Always Rings Twice being the others) and after reading and absolutely loving the others I was really looking forward to getting stuck into this novel.

We follow the tale of John Howard Sharp, an out of work but world class opera singer, he finds himself down to his last few pesos in Mexico when his life becomes entwined with a beautiful local prostitute. Together they carve their way back into the USA where Sharp once again establishes himself as a force within the industry. This all goes well until the man responsible for launching Sharp, the young conductor Winston Hawes, comes back into his life with disastrous consequences.

For it's time I would imagine the novel caused quite a stir and not a lot is held back. Gay relationships and prostitution appear in abundance, and Caine is definitely not someone who constrained by the attitudes of the time.

But, and here is the books downfall for me, I just didn't enjoy it. The other books I have read have always sped along at a really fast pace, and I admired him as an author that wasted no words. However this book for me was the exact opposite. Pages and pages were dedicated to prattling on about various forms of music and the arts. It was almost as if the author was just attempting to put all of his knowledge of Puccinni etc into this book. I have read that Cain's mother was an opera singer so this is obviously where this all stems from. I just couldn't get into the actual storyline itself, which when it did manage to deviate from the theme of 'Art' was actually quite good.

If this had been the first book I had picked by Cain then I am sure it would have been my last, and that really would have been a great shame. Looking at others reviews I can see that I am in the minority, but I can only give my own honest opinion and that is to try something else of his first.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ken Marshall on 8 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this novel because I had recently seen the 1950's film version. Of course because of the censorship problem then prevalent, they could only use the bare outline of the book.
I found the novel to be a good.and exciting read,and it made me wish that a truer version could be made in these more enlightened Times.
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