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Stoner by John Williams

Stoner (original 1965; edition 1965)

by John Williams, Edzard Krol

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,8351842,054 (4.27)1 / 256
Authors:John Williams
Other authors:Edzard Krol
Info:Amsterdam Lebowski 2012
Collections:Your library, Favorites, 2012
Tags:American fiction, English, US, midwest, integrity, 1965, historical fiction, based on true facts, fiction, biography, read in 2012, HLNF

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Stoner by John Williams (1965)


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English (135)  Dutch (24)  Italian (9)  Spanish (4)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  German (2)  Hebrew (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (184)
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
The first book I've read in years that I was not ready to have it end, even though I can't imagine how it could have continued without being false to its spirit. This is an example of exquisite writing that does not detract from the story. It is also a quiet, sad, and thought-provoking story perfectly suited to its language and expression. Had a book ordered from the public library not been awaiting my attention, I might well have started over once I turned the last page, and I look forward to rereading Stoner in the near future. ( )
  Boito_2 | May 3, 2016 |
Bravo. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
One of those recently discovered novels that had disappeared into the ether. It does so well what only American novelists seem able to do - take a very ordinary life and make it compelling in all its sadness and desperation. It reminded me of books by some of my favourite authors like Anne Tyler, Richard Russo and Richard Yates. ( )
  stephengoldenberg | Apr 6, 2016 |
Heartbreaking and beautiful. Williams draws beautiful characters, especially Stoner, and I just didn't want to finish the book. Not that the book is all heartbreak, either. There's the 'villain' of the novel, Hollis Lomax, a hunchback dwarf ego-demon English teacher with a movie idol's face. Re-read that last sentence. Lomax's introduction to the novel occurs during a faculty presentation at the university where Stoner is an assistant English professor. Lomax walks in, but isn't yet identified. The room grows still. All turn to watch the man; he's staring at the floor. The faculty has been hearing about him for months. Lomax's produces a cigarette. He takes a drag. Exhales. When the smoke clears, we see his face. He is beautiful, and his body's twisted.

The Lomax part of Stoner's plot kicks into high gear when Stoner opposes Lomax's championing of a similarly crippled undergrad whose intellectual abilities are less than they should be.

Stoner's main story is framed between two wars: WWI and WWII. The novel plays with the theme of war throughout: Marriage as war. Adultery as war. Career as war. Life as war. This harsh background serves well then to frame many of the novel's peaceful and achingly beautiful scenes.

I'll read this again. ( )
  evamat72 | Mar 31, 2016 |
William Stoner grows up on a farm in Missouri. One day, his father learns that William has the chance to attend the University of Missouri in order to study agriculture. Intending to take over his parents' farm, Stoner seizes the opportunity. In the course of his studies, Stoner is forced to have an introductory lecture in literature. While he does not like it at the beginning, literature slowly starts to grow on him, which is mainly because of his instructor Professor Archer Sloane and a Shakespeare sonnet. Stoner is so impressed by literary studies that he changes his major to literature and his mentored by Archer Sloane. Over the next couple of years, Stoner remains at the university and finally manages to receive a Ph. D. All this is set against the background of the beginning of the twentieth century, so during his studies Stoner is faced with the decision whether he wants to join the armed forces in World War I or stay at university and pursue his studies. Stoner opts for the latter, while some of his friends decide to go to war. After receiving his Ph. D., Stoner becomes assistant professor at the university and finds joy in teaching literature to young students. This is about it for Stoner's career as he is never promoted, one reason being that he loves teaching so much that he does not feel the need for a full professorship, the other being a dispute with the head of the English department.
In his private life, Stoner marries Edith after knowing her only for a short time. The marriage is far from being a happy one and William Stoner finds his wife to be very cold and resentful. While sex is not really part of the Stoners' marriage, they still have a child, Grace, who is mostly cared for by William. To sum up, Stoner is a portrait of the protagonist with the same name and follows his career and his private life, both of which are full of struggles. The only positive aspects in Stoner's life are his never-fading love of literature and his affair with a younger colleague, Katherine.

The character of William Stoner is probably what I loved most about this novel. The depiction of Stoner's life is truly realistic and makes you identify with him. There are many well-known characters in literature and to my mind, John Williams' Stoner deserves to be called one of them. I found myself passionately following his every move, hurting when he had to suffer the hardships of his marriage and being joyful when he finally finds true love and is able to enjoy his life. William Stoner takes great care of his daughter in times his wife selfishly abandons the family. There is a special bond between William and his daughter Grace that you can feel while reading the little episodes in their lives. When Stoner is challenged by the head of the department at university, you can grasp the strain this puts on Stoner, who loves teaching literature. The moment Stoner manages to fight back and is once again allowed to teach advanced classes in his field is not just a victory for Stoner but it has also been a victory for me as a reader who just felt that it was about time that something positive happened to this great character.

Stoner is one of the greatest novels I have ever read. Probably it is also one of the greatest novels I am ever going to read. This novel left a deep impression on me that certainly is to last for a very long time. Highly recommendable and no less than a 5-star read. ( )
3 vote OscarWilde87 | Feb 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 135 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Williams, Johnprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Krol, EdzardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McGahern, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Robben, BernhardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodell, MarieContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my friends and former colleagues in the Department of English at the University of Missouri. They will recognize at once that it is a work of fiction--that no character portrayed in it is based upon any person, living or dead, and that no event has its counterpart in the reality we knew at the University of Missouri. They will also realize that I have taken certain liberties, both physical and historical, with the University of Missouri, so that in effect it, too, is a fictional place.
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William Stoner entered the University of Missouri as a freshman in the year 1910, at the age of nineteen.
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"Born the child of a poor farmer in Missouri, William Stoner is urged by his parents to study new agriculture techniques at the state university. Digging instead into the texts of Milton and Shakespeare, Stoner falls under the spell of the unexpected pleasures of English literature, and decides to make it his life. Stoner is the story of that life" -- publisher description (January 2007).… (more)

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Editions: 1590171993, 1590173937

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