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Stoner (New York Review Books Classics) by…
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Stoner (New York Review Books Classics) (original 1965; edition 2006)

by John Williams, John McGahern (Introduction)

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Member:andyg227
Title:Stoner (New York Review Books Classics)
Authors:John Williams
Other authors:John McGahern (Introduction)
Info:NYRB Classics (2006), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Favorites
Rating:****1/2
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Stoner by John Williams (1965)

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» See also 207 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 111 (next | show all)
It doesn’t happen often that a character pulls at my emotions as much as John Williams, Stoner did. The ending was so painful I had to close the book before it was finished, and come back to it a few days later to give Stoner a proper goodbye. This is fundamentally a story about the cost of love and the sacrifices and compromises involved. It is about a young man from a hard-working farming family who enrols in an agricultural college program only to fall in love with literature. He must leave his farming world to embrace his new love. He falls in love with the image of a gentle girl and ends up in a loveless marriage. His career as an English professor is stunted when he can’t embrace the politics of the university. Stoner is an ordinary man trying to confront the caprices of love. At the death of his father, he ponders whether life is worth living. “He thought of the cost exacted, year after year, by the soil: and it remained as it had been— ... Nothing had changed. Their lives had been expended in cheerless labour, their wills broken, their intelligences numbed.” As he reflects about how fruitless his father’s life had been, Stoner himself thinks back about all his years of joyless teaching. It is only when he defies the status quo and brings his love of literature into his teaching methods that he feels the spring come back in his step. His dying reflections about his life comes with a crucial question— “What did you expect?”—which left me asking the very same thing.

A profound and essential read! ( )
1 vote Murielle_Cyr | Feb 23, 2015 |
I was about halfway through Stoner when I realized how much it reminded me of "The Bridges of Madison County." They both are stories that aren't action packed or driven by mystery, but in the end they pack an emotional punch as you realize the enormity of a simple life told in a simple way.

Stoner is a farm boy who comes to the University of Missouri to learn farming only to be taken with literature and never leaving the college, choosing a teaching career over that of a farmer. He takes few risks in life and almost all of them after careful deliberation. He makes mistakes, but makes no excuses. He gains no great reward or honor during his life, but neither does he end up a derelict. He lives his life with a quiet, slow dignity that carries him through until the end.

Robin Field does an EXCELLENT job with the voices on this recording. Spot on.

Recommended! ( )
  spounds | Feb 18, 2015 |
I am hard pressed to extract a quote from this beautiful prose. It stands complete and entire. The story of a life. I take away the single question: "What did you expect?" ( )
  Anraku | Feb 14, 2015 |
This novel was published in 1965, re-issued by the New York Review of Books. It is the life story of a man who grows up on a hard-scrabble farm in Missouri, has the rare opportunity to go to college, intending to study agronomy, but falling in love instead with English literature, and staying on at the college as an assistant professor. He has a decades-long feud with the head of the English department because he refuses to pass the department head's graduate student, marries an attractive young woman due to infatuation. He later discovers her shallowness and meanness. He has an affair with a student, but is exposed, carries on with his job of teaching through 40 years, and dying with cancer. His life seems sad, but also noble. Exceptionally moving. ( )
  neurodrew | Feb 8, 2015 |
Julian Barnes' quote on the back cover is an accurate recommendation: "A terrific novel of echoing sadness." Wonderfully intelligent and literary without being too clever. Sad in some ways, but triumphal overall. A great novel. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Jan 13, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
John Williamsprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McGahern, JohnIntroductionmain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Krol, EdzardTranslatorsecondary 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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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NYRB Classics

2 editions of this book were published by NYRB Classics.

Editions: 1590171993, 1590173937

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