Books: Season's Ugliest

MILDRED PIERCE—James M. Cam—Knopf ($2.50).

James Mallahan Cain's first novel (The Postman Always Rings Twice) was a tawdry, expert shocker. His second (Serenade) was a highly spiced account of singing and sex in Mexico. His third (Mildred Pierce) is the most interesting of the three. It is about almost ordinary people: a Glendale, Calif, housewife, her husband, her two lovers, her business, her daughter. It is as ugly as Hitler's My New Order, even nearer home, and much more readable.

Mr. Cain's three fascinations are the Laocoönic stranglings of sex, money (or its...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!