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Stoner: A Novel
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Stoner: A Novel (Paperback)

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Read the greatest rediscovered classic of recent years

'A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life' Ian McEwan

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death, his colleagues remember him rarely.

Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value - of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history - and in doing so reclaims the significance of an individual life.

'A brilliant, beautiful, inexorably sad, wise and elegant novel' Nick Hornby

'A terrific novel of echoing sadness' Julian Barnes

Fiction & PoetryClassic fiction pre 1945Fiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Vintage Publishing Publication Date: 03/07/2012 ISBN-13: 9780099561545  Details: Type: Paperback Format: Books
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John Williams was an author, editor and professor. Born in 1922 in Texas, he served in the United States Army Air Force from 1942 to 1945 in China, Burma and India. His first novel, Nothing But the Night, was published in 1948. After receiving his PhD in 1954, Williams returned to the University of Denver where he first studied to teach literature and creative writing for thirty years. It was during this time that he wrote the novels Butcher's Crossing (1960) and Stoner (1965). His last novel, Augustus, won the National Book Award in 1973. John Williams died in Arkansas in 1994.

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Customer Reviews

Stoner is quite rightly considered a classic novel. Dealing with the live and loves of an academic in the USA it is beautifully written in simple, elegant prose and very poignant, the story lingers long in the memory. I’m sure anyone in work, you don’t have to be an academic, will relate to the back stabbing pettiness and jealousies endemic in an organisation. The reflection, regrets and ‘what ifs’ will resonate with readers of all ages, though the character is never bitter and story doesn’t become in anyway mawkish. A lovely book and thoroughly recommended.

- 19/01/2018
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Stoner is a classic piece of literature. The book is so beautifully written, the writing is so effortlessly flawless, that you forget that there is virtually no plot. What plot there is is summarised on the first page. Stoner lives and then dies and his passing is almost unremarked by his family or colleagues. Clearly, that is not all. The book is an examination of life. In this case Stoner’s life but it could be anyone’s. His achievements are small and his set-backs are many, but he meets them all with a quiet acceptance which reveals his inner dignity. He achieves peace and fulfilment with very little that our modern world would class as “success”. He is an inspiration to us all. Read it for the underlying message or read it for the sublime writing. Just read it.

- 16/07/2015
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Such a beautiful book - barely a word out of place or superfluous. The story is heartbreaking, but somehow there is a kind of redemption, but the journey there is one of enormous sorrow

- 04/05/2014
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Everyone seems to be talking about this book at the moment. It is a straightforward chronological narrative covering the life from birth to death of a US man. Both the First and Second World Wars impinge indirectly on his life but he is too young for the First and too old for the Second. The book is grim and depressing in that the trajectory of a life inevitably involves his not achieving or fulfilling what he might have. In his personal life he is confronted by a mismatched wife; in his professional he is victimised by a senior colleague. His friendships - with his daughter and a student - are thwarted. But, it is beautifully written. the prose is simple but elegant and never self-conscious. I will look for other novels by John Williams.

- 03/02/2014
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