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 - fhudnell - LibraryThing
I know that many people love this book, but I found it to be a relentlessly grim and unpleasant experience. The book starts in bleakness and gets worse. Reading it was like gnawing on cardboard. Three ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - Hebephrene - LibraryThing
You get blurb fatigue. Could the book really be that good? Another masterpiece? But this deserves the attention because it is riveting. It makes the restraint of Mr. & Mrs. Bridge look like Liebling ... Read full review