mildred pierce


“I make no conscious effort to be tough, or hard-boiled, or grim,” Cain once noted of his own writing, “or any of the things I am usually called. I merely try to write as the character would write, and I never forget that the average man, from the fields, the streets, the bars, the offices, and even the gutters of his country, has acquired a vividness of speech that goes beyond anything I could invent, and that if I stick to this heritage, this logos of the American countryside, I shall attain a maximum of effectiveness with very little effort.” In 1941, Cain published his fourth novel, “Mildred Pierce,” a book that has such an aesthetic at its heart. The story of a divorcee in Depression-era Glendale, it was filmed in 1945 with Joan Crawford; this weekend, HBO debuts a new five-part adaptation with Kate Winslet in the title role. To read “Mildred Pierce” now is to experience a double vision, in which we confront both how much and how little things have changed.

more from David L. Ulin at the LAT here.