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 - aine.fin - LibraryThing
Book Club July 2015. So glad this came up as a book club selection as I had never come across it before - a lost classic? Beautifully written, light on plot yet compelling and always a pleasure to ... Read full review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - KymmAC - LibraryThing
Great book, loved the writing, but god was it bleak. Bleak, bleak, bleak. What's the point? There is no point. Life sucks and then you die. Ugh. Good read, but a deep hurt that is lasting a week or more. Read full review