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Three by Cain: Serenade, Love's Lovely Counterfeit, The Butterfly Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Serenade deals with an American opera singer (Cain trained as an opera singer before turning to journalism) who falls for a Mexican prostitute and brings her illegally back into the states where he begins a meteoric rise to fame, until something goes horribly wrong.
Love's Lovely Counterfeit is a tale of small town crime. A solid thriller.
The final novel, The Butterfly, is the most unique as it deals with the subject of incest in a West Virginia coal mining town. A nineteen year old girl shows up at a man's farm claiming to be his daughter, and takes things a little far with her sexual teasing. The plot takes several turns in its slim 90 pages, but I've never read another book quite like The Butterfly. The subject matter lends itself to Cain's spare, objective prose, because you need some distance from a topic like incest, and Cain hadles it well.
The book also contains a short preface to The Butterfly, where the author talks a bit about his biography and his approach to writing.
All three books are a solid 'B' grade, and fans of Cain, especially his writing style, should seek this book out.
As Serenade opens, protagonist Jack Sharp is banished from Paradise, subsisting in Mexico as a kind of operatic stumblebum. He lost both his golden voice and his European Eden when his muse deserted him over the sin of homosexuality. The agent of his temptation and fall was rich, charming Winston Hawes, his maestro and mentor in Paris.
In his Mexico hell, Jack nevertheless finds his Eve, a three-peso whore named Juana Montes, who straightens his libido, helps heal his voice, and escapes with him for his second shot at fame and fortune in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Before long, he conquers Hollywood and reaches his ultimate goal, singing at the Met in New York. Naturally, Winston Hawes reappears at the height of Jack’s meteoric rise. Not long after, in a decadent party setting that resembles a drag ball, Juana fulfills her fate and crushes the devil/serpent underfoot.
Those who have been awarded a second sojourn in the Garden must, of course, endure another round of purgation in hell. To that end, Jack and Juana flee to South America for the denouement, deteriorating physically and mentally until they reach ground zero—the same Mexican town and milieu where they met. The ending is appropriately melodramatic, but is too long in coming. Cain has tried our patience by now with a lot of mopey agonizing about the lovers’ final breakup.
In spite of its faults, Serenade is mostly brisk and involving, a damn good read.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I got caught up with Cain's novels when a friend gave me "The Cocktail Waitress", which I thoroughly enjoyed. Read morePublished on May 31, 2013 by Golden Oldie 71
Once you start reading Cain, you have trouble stopping. He's a genius at communicating a lot in few words. Highly recommended.Published on August 10, 2011 by Mal
If you like Cain, after plowing through the big three - Postman, Indemnity, and Mildred Pierce - you should soon find your way to these classics. Read morePublished on February 12, 2010 by John Altman
I got this book because the novella, "Serenade" was the story that resulted in a Mario Lanza movie (bearing the same name) from the 1950's. Read morePublished on June 28, 2009 by Amazon Customer