New York Review of Books, Jun 20, 2006 - Fiction - 288 pages
Discover an American masterpiece. This unassuming story about the life of a quiet English professor has earned the admiration of readers all over the globe.
William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar’s life, so different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments: marriage into a “proper” family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude.
John Williams’s luminous and deeply moving novel is a work of quiet perfection. William Stoner emerges from it not only as an archetypal American, but as an unlikely existential hero, standing, like a figure in a painting by Edward Hopper, in stark relief against an unforgiving world.
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LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - ProfH - LibraryThing
Sincere, plain, and maudlin. This isn't the masterpiece that some readers claim.The portrayal of the pettiness and sadness of higher education politics is frighteningly accurate (think of Kissinger's ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Castlelass - LibraryThing
Beautifully written tragedy about University of Missouri Professor William Stoner. It starts near the turn of the 20th century and continues for Stoner’s lifetime. Stoner grows up on a farm but is ... Read full review