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Stoner [Download] ➽ Stoner Author John Williams – William Stoner hijo único de un matrimonio de granjeros ue sobrevive en la penuria es enviado a estudiar agricultura a la Universidad de Missouri El objetivo de su padre es sencillo ue el chico apren William Stoner hijo único de un matrimonio de granjeros ue sobrevive en la penuria es enviado a estudiar agricultura a la Universidad de Missouri El objetivo de su padre es sencillo ue el chico aprenda técnicas nuevas y ue a la vuelta se haga cargo de la granja Pero en esas clases donde se sabe un intruso descubre la literatura y de ué manera puede cambiar su vida A partir de ahí su fracaso matrimonial su no del todo feliz peripecia profesional su fidelidad a la institución su búsueda constante de una esuiva paz interior Pero sobre todo una manera de hablar de contar ue han merecido el elogio unánime de la crítica.

  • Paperback
  • 242 pages
  • Stoner
  • John Williams
  • Spanish
  • 26 January 2014
  • 9788415700616

About the Author: John Williams

Librarian Note There is than one author in the GoodReads database with this nameJohn Edward Williams PhD University of Missouri ; MA University of Denver ; BA U of D enlisted in the USAAF early in spending two and a half years as a sergeant in India and Burma His first novel Nothing But the Night was published in and his first volume of poems Th.

10 thoughts on “Stoner

  1. Jeffrey Keeten Jeffrey Keeten says:

    In his extreme youth Stoner had thought of love as an absolute state of being to which if one were lucky one might find access; in his maturity he had decided it was the heaven of a false religion toward which one ought to gaze with an amused disbelief a gently familiar contempt and an embarrassed nostalgia Now in his middle age he began to know that it was neither a state of grace nor an illusion; he saw it as a human act of becoming a condition that was invented and modified moment by moment and day by day by the will and the intelligence and the heart William Stoner grew up on a farm a hardscrabble farm too small to provide than just subsistence living They were an undersized family for that time period just his father and mother and himself It took all of them to keep up with the backbreaking work of a farm in the early 20th century His father in his own way a visionary man could see that farming was on the cusp of great changes He sent Stoner to the University of Missouri to find out what the future was going to be for agriculture Stoner wasn't an inspired student He still had to work on a relative's farm to pay for his tuition and found the work he did the less help he got from his relatives He still had to go back to the family farm and help his father whenever he had spare time He was almost too busy to worry too much about schoolThe first pivotal moment for Stoner is when he is sitting in an English class taught by his future mentor The professor puts him on the spot asking him to explain a Shakespeare Sonnet Stoner was dumbfounded not only with embarrassment but by the language of the English bard He switched majors from the department of agriculture to the department of English literature I grew up on a farm about 80 years after Stoner as anticipated by Stoner's father production agriculture took great leaps forward replacing a lot of backbreaking labor with machines Farmers were able to increase their land holdings as tractors and thrashers allowed them to maximize daylight hours I stacked a lot of hay feed cattle in subzero weather pulled calves you've never been properly slimed until you've spent time up to your elbow in a cow's uterus fixed fence rode tractors listening to Royals baseball games to keep from dozing off drove trucks full of grain and every minute I wasn't doing something for the farm or playing sports I was reading books My parents don't know how it happened It must have been an aberrant gene Nobody I knew read books except for the good book which most of the time I couldn't tell they'd grasped many of the concepts of that book either The 1980s farm crises hit just as I was coming of age Land values had jumped up and many farmers had expanded their operations Then land values plummeted and bankers started realizing that the loans they had made to these farmers were no longer secured with enough euity They started calling their customer's notes due Thousands of farmers were forced to sell out My Dad survived by the skin of his teeth He decided there was no future in farming and told me I was going to college My younger brother was a better fit for farming anyway My Dad knew that I wasn't really cut out to be a farmer my nose in a book all the time might have been the tip off A crises for many created an opportunity for me Like Stoner I majored in English Literature Stoner becomes a teacher He decides not to go to war with his friends and suffers from the stigma of swimming against the tide This is a theme for Stoner going his own way ignoring the odd looks and the snide remarks He meets a demure young woman named Edith and pursues her doggedly believing that his kindness would be recognized and appreciated by someone so fragile The description of the consummation of the marriage is one of the grimmest most agonizing that I have ever read Edith was in bed with the covers pulled to her chin her face turned upward her eyes closed a thin frown creasing her forehead Silently as if she were asleep Stoner undressed and got into bed beside her For several moments he lay with his desire which had become an impersonal thing belonging to himself alone He spoke to Edith as if to find a haven for what he felt; she did not answer he put his hand upon her and felt beneath the thin cloth of her nightgown the flesh he had longed for He moved his hand upon her; she did not stir; her frown deepened Again he spoke saying her name to silence; then he moved his body upon her gentle in his clumsiness When he touched the softness of her thighs she turned her head sharply away and lifted her arm to cover her eyes She made no soundFor a man so sensual and in need of romantic love he unfortunately married the wrong woman He hoped for a partner but found himself roped to a woman that embraced invalidism and waged nasty little wars against him that by his nature made him incapable of defending himself He finds solace in books and spends and of his time at the University in Jesse Hall reading Jesse Hall at the University of MissouriStoner makes enemies of some of his coworkers He is so unsuited for office politics that it proves to be a detriment to him Though I was so proud of him towards the end of the book when he cleverly outflanks a department chair intent on driving him from the profession He meets a woman a very special woman as if molded by the gods to be the perfect mate for him Her name is Katherine Driscoll and the gymnastics involved with the misinterpretations missteps and miscues of their burgeoning relationship left me emotionally drained There are movies sometimes or television shows where the audience is on the edge of their seat waiting for the moment when the characters finally realize they are meant to be together and kiss for the first time Well it wasn't a kiss that became that epic moment for William and Katherine He found himself trembling; as awkwardly as a boy he went around the coffee table and sat beside her Tentatively clumsily their hands went out to each other; they clasped each other in an awkward strained embrace; and for a long time they sat together without moving as if any movement might let escape from them the strange and terrible thing that they held between them in a single graspStoner's enemies leap at an opportunity to destroy him Even the liberal community of a university has it's limits Stoner for the first time in his life is becoming the person he always wanted to be but the heady days of joy are under assault and he is trapped by his own sense of honor He suffers for love just as he is starting to understand it In this forty third year William Stoner learned what others much younger had learned before him that the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know anotherThis is such a deceptively simple novel The sparse powerful prose give this book so much depth Stoner gets under your skin He is so stoic in the face of continued and unremitting harassment from the people around him that I found myself sharing the pain with him The author John Williams grew up on a small farm in Texas and had a similar escape to the University as Stoner and I He ended up developing the writing program for the University of Denver In the introduction by John McGahern he relates something that Mr Williams said that resonates with me as well Williams complains about the changes in the teaching of literature and the attitude to the text as if a novel or poem is something to be studied and understood rather than experienced John WilliamsI'm a reader that likes to be told a story I don't want to break books down to their mathematical or scientific structures I want the mysticism the emotion of a journey that expands my understanding of humanity William Stoner is as real to me as the mailman that delivers my mail or the publisher that signs my checks If I ever run into him I will shake his large farm hardened hand and ask him if he has a little bit of time to talk to me about a certain sonnet written by a man by the name of Shakespeare

  2. Jim Fonseca Jim Fonseca says:

    I read Stoner after I saw that almost all my friends on GR had read it It’s an impressive work which I finished months ago but hard a hard time figuring out what to say about it with thousands of reviews already out there Stoner is the life story of an unremarkable man and the consensus seems to be “he did his best” He came from a Missouri farm family and a poor background but manages to become an English professor at the university One theme is the ‘loneliness’ and ‘distant courtesy’ of many of the characters which I think applies to Stoner himself This may be a trait of many academic folks who have some kind of social disability and turn to books as a substitute for social interaction He’s awkward around women but finally marries Then we get I think the most tragic lines in the book “Within a month he knew that his marriage was a failure; within a year he stopped hoping that it would improve”His wife is constantly exhausted and at the edge of hysteria After they have a child a girl his wife seems so uninterested in the child that Stoner becomes mother and father His wife deliberately takes away any pleasures he has such as converting his den to her “art studio” so that he can’t spend time alone with his daughter while he works as she does her homework Let’s put it this way his wife is “nucking futs”His life at the university offers limited respite to his hell at home He gets into what is initially a trivial dispute with his department chair The chair become his sworn enemy and punishes Stoner by taking away his graduate seminar courses To a large extent Stoner is “an academic novel” highlighting all the backbiting and pettiness we’ve come to expect in these stories One faculty member says “It’s for us that the University exists for the dispossessed of the world; not for the students not for the selfless pursuit of knowledge not for any of the reasons that you hear”Stoner lets himself become a little crazy in the classroom He loses the notes and becomes a good teacher but this takes him several years “He suspected that he was beginning ten years late to discover who he was; and the figure he saw was both and less than he had once imagined it to be He felt himself at last beginning to be a teacher” His younger colleagues recognize him as “a ‘dedicated’ teacher a term they used half in envy and half in contempt”He has contradictory feelings about his life On one hand “He was forty two years old and he could see nothing before him that he wished to enjoy and little behind him that he cared to remember” And yet and yet “Except for Edith’s absence from it his life was nearly what he wanted it to be” “He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been It was a uestion he suspected that came to all men at one time or another” “Dispassionately reasonably he contemplated the failure that his life must appear to be” He thinks “What did you expect?” and that becomes his mantra as he lies on his death bed Is he heroic? Or is he a loser? It’s easy for an outsider to look back at Stoner’s life and tell him where he went wrong Just as we can imagine a good friend or a brother or a sister telling us “you should have done this Jim; you should have done that” It’s obvious to them where we went wrong; yet they can’t see all the things we think and feel at the time; they can’t live our lives for us and despite all the advice and evidence that we should have done THIS or done THAT instead we DON’T do that or we DO something entirely different So as I look at Stoner’s life here’s where I think he went wrong Easy for me to say I’ll put this in a spoiler in the unlikely event that there is anyone still out there who has not yet read Stonerview spoilerWhy didn’t he leave his wife? Sure in those days fewer people divorced but some did He stayed in a terrible marriage for the good of his daughter But as an adult his daughter turned into an alcoholic with her husband’s parents basically raising their grandkid Why didn’t he challenge his wife even on some of the smaller things such as when she took away his den out of spite? It was his and his daughter’s only island of sanity in that house Why didn’t Stoner stand up for his woman friend when the university forced the breakup of their ‘improper relationship’? They truly loved each other Why did it take him 20 years to find a solution and fight back against his spiteful chairman who punished him by taking away his graduate courses? hide spoiler

  3. Jimmy Jimmy says:

    Spoiler alert read at your own perilUPDATE December 2010I just submitted this to Better Book Titles I hope they accept itOriginal Review October 2009This is the most straight forward linear narrative type of novel I've read in the past year So at first I was not impressed But I soon realized that the novel is impressive precisely because it is able to be so damn linear the writing style so damn plain and the characters so damn dull and yet and yet it manages to make me continue reading on driven by what I don't know There is a constant melancholy through the book but also its points of lightSo that was the first 100 pages or so Then it gets good I mean really good But I don't know why Nothing that much changes it is just events in the life of this guy But I start to really care about him or really understand him or something Let me just put it out there this is a depressing novel It is a devastating novel It made me cry But it is not one where horrible thing after horrible thing happens to good people Many of the things that happen are yes horrible but also very normal they are like small dissappointmentsJohn Williams is able to kill you softly with his immovable patience his prose which is like the most patient thing in the world and which builds and builds by inching closer and closer to the precipice Precisely because he is not flashy Precisely because he is so restrained in his prose that you never realize it when you're right on the edge of the cliff and you're like wait how did I get here?Also I don't mean to suggest that his prose is boring His prose is beautiful But straight forward And very functional It is in service to the subject matter And the fact that it is not flashy 95% of the time makes it all the devastating the other 5% of the time when he floors it as in this passageYears later it was to occur to him that in that hour and a half on that December evening of their first extended time together she told him about herself than she ever told him again And when it was over he felt that they were strangers in a way that he had not thought they would be and he knew that he was in love p53or in this passageIt was a passion neither of the mind nor of the flesh; rather it was a force that comprehended them both as if they were but the matter of love its specific substance To a woman or to a poem it said simply Look I am alive p 250I've rambled long enough Let me just say a few things because I'm a bit delirious The characters They are complex and blameless That is part of the devastation You can't blame them for the decisions they make Each one even the ones that make our protagonist's life hell you can't blame them because the writer makes you understand slowly why they are the way they are What drives each character to drive each other mad I read on one of these goodreads reviews someone said It only troubles me that every single thing that Stoner thinks and says and does seems so incredibly right or at least perfectly understandable on first reading That's what I mean He didn't do anything wrong Everything he does is understandable He was just being himself the best way he knew how And so was every character in this book

  4. Cecily Cecily says:

    After 63 pages “Stunned by Stoner This is agonisingly wonderful”At the end “Finished Him and me Exuisite but exhausted”Then I immediately started rereading something I have only previously done with children’s picture books It is without uestion my joint favourite book ever The other utterly different ones are Titus GroanGormenghast which I reviewed HERE and the Heaven and Hell trio which I reviewed HERE But it’s hard to explain its mesmerising power in a way that does it justice What Sort of Story? It opens with a page of downbeat but carefully crafted spoilers rather like an obituary after which the story is told straightforwardly and chronologically from William Stoner’s last days at school and on his parents’ farm to life as a university student then university faculty member marriage parenthood affair and finally his death His main joy is literature and the university that enables him to share that love with others reflected in simple but heartfelt words on his retirement “Thank you all for letting me teach” It sounds dull banal or both but it's not It's heartbreakingly beautiful without being sentimental and because Stoner is never without hope I didn't find it a depressingContrasts Elouence and Inarticulacy Strong and Weak Success and Failure Gain and LossIt’s a book about language and literature and yet inarticulacy is a recurring theme it is the direct cause of most of the pain but also the trigger for his main happiness in a compulsory literature review it is his inability to understand or perhaps to explain his understanding of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 73 that triggers a life long passion and career This reticence or inability to talk about innermost thoughts is perhaps one reason why the causes of Edith's behaviour are only hinted at anything explicit would set the wrong tone and might not have been appropriate when publishedAlmost all Stoner’s dreams come true but happiness is always elusive and ephemeral The good things are lost or worse still taken away by someone he had hoped would be his love or friend Edith and Lomax respectively Both antagonists are sensitive damaged people as is Stoner and Lomax even shares his love of literature for similar reasons escape One message of the book is “carpe diem” seize the day or in youth speak YOLO which is also reflected in Sonnet 73’s focus on decay death and enjoying what we have while we canStoner can be brave such as swapping from an agricultural degree course with its predictable future to an English literature degree inspired by a sonnet he struggled to explain – and yet he doesn’t have the courage to tell his parents until after they’ve attended his graduationWhat Sort of Man? Some see Stoner as passive and weak Certainly there are many times when I wanted him to act differently or just to act at all in particular to stand up for his daughter and his lover Instead he is uietly stoical which is apt given his areas of interest include classical Greek literature His uiet stoicism born of parental fortitude and nurtured by habit and habitat runs too deep for him to act as others wouldHe loses everything he values even the rapport with his students and the ability to enjoy his books and in many respects he is a failure as son husband father lover even scholar – but he keeps going never bearing a grudge trying his best So sad and yet curiously inspirationalThere are some autobiographical aspects from a dirt poor farm to university lecturer and of personality and some demons See this interview with Nancy Gardner Williams HERETime and PlaceUnlike some readers I find Stoner entirely believable especially when you consider the much higher social cost of divorce back then Would the story be any happier if it were set today? It would certainly be different but flawed people raise flawed people Tolstoy famously wrote “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way” and that would be just as true of one unhappy family transplanted from one period in history to another In a contemporary setting even if he had married Edith unlikely? she would surely have got help bi polar abuse survivor? though maybe too late to fend off divorce Either way matters would turn out better for Katherine and Grace and Lomax and Walker would probably not have got away with as much as they did I'm sure it's no coincidence that Williams set it than a generation earlier than the time he was writingSpeaking to MeWhy did this book move me in such a direct and personal way? I'm not a man not American wasn't born at the turn of the 19th20th centuries and have never been a farmer or a professor But I do love books I do need escape sometimes and I did spend much of my childhood on a family farm though there was never any expectation that I would be a farmer The farm is part of it though in some ways Stoner reminds me of my beloved grandfather who died when I was 14 Although he had a happier life than Stoner he had the same uiet but dogged resilience and always tried to make the best of what life or wife threw at himThe other aspect that poured from the pages especially second time round was the emotional damage caused by bad parenting albeit sometimes with good intentions caused or exacerbated by poor communication I was repeatedly reminded of Larkin’s famous lines “They fuck you up your mum and dad But they were fucked up in their turn” see below Although I had a largely happy childhood there were odd complex and problematic aspects that have left their mark on the sort of adult and parent I am and although I’m the mother of a wonderful 20 year old I’m very conscious of things my husband and I could and perhaps should have done differently I think we’re doing better than the Stoners thoughOther ThemesSoil Stoner is a son of the soil and there are many allusions to its power to spread and bind whether seeping through the floorboards or being ingrained in the skin or mind Soil chemistry is the only agricultural course mentioned by name and Stoner enjoyed it – until he discovered his greater love literature He is transplanted from the countryside to the university where he puts down roots and stays – no matter what The university is the setting for almost all of the novel and arguably a character in its own right Early on one of the characters muses whether it is a path to self fulfillment an instrument for social good or just an asylum The novel uietly demonstrates that it is all three “Lust and learning that’s really all there is” says one character but both of those need an outlet The insularity of most of the main characters and their unwillingness or inability to discuss or even show their feelings means they are lonely outsiders who can’t relish life That aloneness exerts a high price that manifests itself in different ways; the saddest outcome is for Grace Stoner’s daughter We need to reach out to each other communicate and seize the day At times Stoner is like Don uixote with Gordon Finch as a brighter and influential sidekick than Sancho This friendship is the one enduring human relationship Finch repeatedly takes risks to help his friend and yet it is a very understated friendship that is not especially close An area to explore further on a reread?Problematic AspectsThere are three troubling aspects but that conflict is part of what makes the book compelling• Two characters are self described “cripples” Times and vocabulary have changed so that’s not the issue What is harder is the fact that both characters are unpleasant and both use their disability to make false and malicious claims of prejudice to their own advantage• What are the issues around consent for view spoilersleep sex given that the other party won’t countenance it when fully conscious but is at some level vaguely aware of it when nearly asleep? Her “enduring violation” while he “performed his love as uickly as he could hating himself for his haste and regretting his passion” sounds awful for both hide spoiler

  5. Glenn Russell Glenn Russell says:

    For the hardworking men and women living in the open windswept farm country of the American Midwest during the late 19th and early 20th century day to day existence was freuently harsh an occasionally downright hostile a stark demanding life chiseling character as can be seen above in artist Grant Wood’s American Gothic If you take a good look at this painting and then envision a son an only child working the fields alongside his father you will have a clear image of the starting point of Stoner John Williams’ classic novel of uiet perfectionThe novel follows the life of William Stoner from his boyhood on a Missouri farm though his years as a faculty member of the English Department at the University of Missouri William Stoner is a good man a man of integrity a man as we eventually find out through his relationship with a fellow faculty member Katherine Driscoll capable of profound intimacy and tenderness of heart William Stoner is also a lover of literature an accomplished scholar and a dedicated teacherBut all is not well in the life of Professor Stoner particularly in his home life As a beginning instructor right out of graduate school he marries a woman barely twenty years of age from St Louis the daughter of a banker a young woman by the name of Edith Elaine Bostwick Turns out young Edith is what we term nowadays as emotionally abused And right from the start of her marriage Edith inflicts emotional abuse on her husband Stoner and eventually on their daughter Grace Personally I found reading those parts of the novel involving Edith particularly wrenching bordering on painfulIndeed as readers we live through the pain of Stoner dealing with Edith’s wall of emotional frigidness and coldness which includes being relegated as a husband in his late twenties to sleeping on the parlor coach at night Through all the years of isolation and alienation including Edith’s wedging a wall of separation between Stoner and Grace there is one particularly poignant scene where we read “Once while Edith was upstairs William and his daughter passed each other in the living room Grace smiled shyly at him and involuntarily he knelt on the floor and embraced her He felt her body stiffen and he saw her face go bewildered and afraid He raised himself gently away from her said something inconseuential and retreated to his study” For a child to become bewildered and afraid when a parent expresses such tenderness and affection speaks volumes to the level of emotional abuse at homeRather than dwelling on the grimness of Stoner’s family life I will conclude with a one final observation Grace gives birth to a baby boy but after one brief visit did not return to the home of her parents with her son since as Stoner realizes on his own and Grace tells him in so many words at one point during her whiskey drinking and yes a grim fact she has turned to alcohol she got pregnant in the first place to escape from the prison of his mother’s presence Well my goodness – as readers we have a good idea what it would mean for a sensitive man like William Stoner to be deprived of a relationship with his grandsonTurning to Stoner’s professional life there are serious cracks within the halls of academe He is a man of integrity and honesty and the political infighting within academic departments is famous for being vicious and nasty I wouldn’t want to say any so as to spoil for a reader but I can assure you Dr Stoner is on the receiving end of a large dose of viciousnessBut through it all our main character remains strong One memorable paragraph from the novel “But William Stoner knew of the world in a way that few of his younger colleagues could understand Deep in him beneath his memory was the knowledge of hardship and hunger and endurance and pain Though he seldom thought of his early years on the Booneville farm there was always near his consciousness the blood knowledge of his inheritance given him by forefathers whose lives were obscure and hard and stoical and whose common ethic was to present to an oppressive world faces that were expressionless and hard and bleak”Incidentally when I was a 12 year old boy I joined me father mother and sister as we took a trip in our car from the New Jersey shore across the American Midwestern heartland of farms to pay a visit to my grandmother On the way out and also in my grandmother’s town I heard a number of harrowing tales of farm life especially for the children of farmers I reflected on those tales of physical hardship and unending toil when I wrote this surreal micro fiction a number of years agoDOWN ON THE FARMBefore he leaves the city they tell him how the country doctor drives a buggy made from the flesh and bones of his former patients“Nothing goes to waste” is the way they put it when he finally arrives “we’re all farmers around here”He joins the doctor on his first visit to a farmhouse to attend a sick woman Instead of a thermometer the doctor sticks his middle finger under the woman’s tongue and says “I’ve done this enough times to know when someone has a fever”He looks over the doctor’s shoulder out the farmhouse window Beyond a skeleton tied to a pole he sees the farmer plowing his field using his younger son harnessed as a beast of burden“Doesn’t that take superhuman strength?” he asks the doctorThe doctor answers “His older son wasn’t uite as strong but still makes a fine scarecrow”American author John William 1922 1994

  6. Sean Barrs Sean Barrs says:

    THIS WAS MY BEST BOOK OF 2016 It was a hard decision; it was a choice between this and The Vegetarian by Hang Kang But I had to think which book taught be the most and which book helped me the most I enjoyed them both immensely I loved them but this one set me on my path in life; thus I will always be grateful for John Williams and his Stoner He opened the book; and as he did so it became not his own He let his fingers rifle through the pages and felt a tingling as if those pages were alive The tingling came through his fingers and coursed through his flesh and bone; he was minutely aware of it and he waited till it contained him until the old excitement that was like horror fixed him where he lay William Stoner has a terrible life his marriage is a disaster; his daughter resembles her damaged mother; his teaching career is hindered by an argument with a fellow faculty member and he is subjected to continual waves of misery All in all it’s a sad life it’s his life However through all the shit times and the occasional glimpses of happiness one thing keeps him animated; it’s a thing every reader knows a love of words a love of books and a love of the wonderment of literature I will never forget the journey I shared with Stoner in these pages He is a flawed man When he was a student he had no real ambition or drive He didn’t know what he wanted to do but he knew what he didn’t want to do he didn’t want to be a farmer like his farther A university lecture inspired him with the marvels of Shakespeare; he asked him a uestion a uestion that changed Stoner’s life The result was a switch in academic discipline and an enthusiastic perusal of everything literature based Stoner became engrossed with his work; he uickly forgot about the outside world and refused to take part in the war effort This is a feeling I know all too well When one is completely engrossed in reading obsessed even it becomes difficult to pay attention to reality If you’ve made it this far into my review then I probably don’t need to tell you that Stoner had what he needed he had his books But life isn’t always that simple “He had come to that moment in his age when there occurred to him with increasing intensity a uestion of such overwhelming simplicity that he had no means to face it He found himself wondering if his life were worth the living; if it had ever been” A profound uestion to ask oneself and I truly think this helped to consolidate his decisions Student life comes to an end for most folk For Stoner there is no end University is his home; it is his life; it is his passion and his drive it is the one and only constant in his existence So why would he ever leave it? Why would he ever give it up? The student becomes the teacher and Stoner extends his stay for a lifetime He has nothing else to cling to only a love for his field of scholarship I cannot uite express how much I sympathise with this character here As a student of literature and a huge hobby reader sometimes there seems to be little else on the horizon but to peruse one’s passion For Stoner though his choice was the only one he could ever have made His existence is only really for one purpose and because of this he realised very early on his conseuential fate “It’s like it just all goes around and around and keeps on going It makes you wonder” As Stoner gets older his peers begin to die In this he sees what awaits him; he has the stark realisation that he too will die This may seem trivial and an obvious fact of life though a realisation of such magnitude can really alter character Stoner has a midlife crises; he has a glimpse of what his life could have been like had he married his soul mate his love and intellectual eual It is a shame for Stoner that such a thing came when he was already settled but again that’s just life This problematic relationship sets him even further on his course I don’t need to tell you about the ending It is an obvious conclusion for such a book though I will say that its delivery was nothing short of perfection Never before have I read a book in which the entire thing is embodied in its final few words I’m amazed I’m shaken I’m stunned I’m numb Why you should read this I don’t often go as far as to explicitly state something like this in a review Reading is personal and subjective My reviews are just my opinion; they may not be shared by others With this however I would go as far to say that this should be read by every reader every reader who has felt the sharp pangs that literature can evoke Here is a man who is completely lost; here is a character that has nothing really to live for here is a man who is lost in the words and it’s his salvation And this is his life story This is not a simple novel It is a bildungsroman that is tragic emotive and even inspiring This book opened my eyes to many things I learnt a great deal about life and myself in the process Trust me fellow bibliophiles go read it This is something really special Facebook| Twitter| Insta| Academia

  7. Ilse(on semi-hiatus) Ilse(on semi-hiatus) says:

    Those who can do Those who can't teachWhat to do when everything goes wrong? Work marriage parenthood eventually health? Plenty of benevolent advices and platitudes will whizz around your ears to help you to bounce back Remember it is all in your mind Happiness is the result of your approach to life not of what happens to you Revolt anger complaining or denial won’t change anything Focus on what is instead of on what should be Accept accept accept Take one step at time keep moving keep working to what you want in lifeIn our times of voluntarist belief in shaping our own destiny only fools refuse or refrain to act or at least to try to take control of their own lifeBut perhaps the only sensible thing to do is keep breathing Minimal action minimal reaction Just embrace plain and simple old fashioned and untimely Stoicism Like Stoner Wisdom lies in tuning our lives to the divine order of the universe and to want what actually is the case As emotions have an external source as we are being moved touched affected impassioned be the Master of Yourself and control your emotions Do not strive for pleasure Be un touched Only a fool tries to impose his own selfish desires upon reality and is the plaything of his emotions and desires The consolations of philosophy applied to ordinary life Amongst the teachers I know there is a bittersweet running joke when talking about the essence of their profession Why does someone chooses to become a teacher? And bursting with self mockery laughter they sing in unison Those who can do Those who can’t teach Stoner’s friend Dave Masters could probably agree with it when he is partly ironically speaking about the true nature of universities ”It is an asylum or — what do they call them now? — a rest home for the infirm the aged the discontent and the otherwise incompetentThis novel strongly reminisced academic life its seclusion and petty machinations Not having Stoner’s gift of endurance I fled abandoning the dream of a life of learning and science after 6 years of struggle as university was not the refuge and source of wisdom this naive working class daughter hoped for but a ruthless almost egotistic habitat crushing me – a place where teaching didn’t really matter As Ian trenchantly points out if we empathize with Stoner’s dire life couldn’t it be because of our own wounds and experiences too? Imagine yourself living together with Stoner However wise and admirable his stoicism there is also a solipsistic aspect to it According to his creator Stoner is altogether a happy man ”He had a very good life He had a better life than most people do certainly He was doing what he wanted to do he had some feeling for what he was doing he had some sense of the importance of the job he was doing” But what about the effect of his stoic attitudes on the lives of the others in his life? His parents wife daughter lover? Does he really care? I disliked Williams’s portrayal of Edith Stoner’s vicious battle axe of a wife – I guess I am not conversant enough with the perception of American women in that part of history but her one dimensional depiction hardly exceeds the caricature image of the neurotic frigid female like the Madge in Frank Zappa’s Harry you’re a beast You paint your head Your mind is dead You don't even know what I just said THAT'S YOU AMERICAN WOMANHOOD You're phony on top You're phony underneath You lay in bed grit your teeth MADGE I WANT YOUR BODY HARRY GET BACK MADGE IT'S NOT MERELY PHYSICAL HARRY YOU'RE A BEASTComing no further than these personal musings I feel not able to do justice to this poignant novel hitting a little too close to home for than one reason Yes Stoner is as unforgettable a character as many reviews point out Yes in many respects I have known a Stoner We were married for 16 years He was like Stoner the most stoic person I ever met He illustrated his philosophy lectures with a cartoon from D Palmer’s Looking at Philosophy The Unbearable Heaviness of Philosophy Made Lighter ; afterwards showing it to our children to teach them euanimity when things didn't work out as they would like they did As I am not that stoic like he was because of its ending I didn't have the heart to pass the book to him

  8. David David says:

    I was going to start out this review of Stoner by feigning comic incredulity that the former conductor of the Boston Pops wrote a novel about potheads but that is far far too obvious and unsatisfying even for the likes of me Instead I am going to confess that I read only half of it and thereby my ignorance has been properly disclaimed but that this aborted reading filled me with such unmitigated contempt for the author that I plan on mounting every soapbox if soapboxes haven't been technologically obviated by now from here to the Great Barrier Reef condemning this plodding tiresome amateurish book with an antagonistic passion that literature hasn't evoked in me since Cambridge's A Concise History of France wherein concision meant excising significant historical events in favor of agricultural data and a dimly Marxist perspective but I digress as alwaysI shouldn't blame John Williams for my rising blood pressure because in fact YOU are to blame Yes you Perhaps not individually but in the general sense of Goodreads voters and reviewers of which you are presumably a constituent As of this moment Stoner has an average rating of 439 stars out of five on the basis of 531 Goodreader ratings This is a remarkable score to be sure but as with many averages it is complete and utter bullshit obviously contaminated by the spurious opinions of the ardent fans of graceless tedious prose You know who you areLet's parse the data shall we? 459 people gave this turd four or five stars; whilst only eleven people were courageous enough to call a spade a spade and against the grain of general opinion to award it only one or two stars I consider these eleven people heroes You and your ilk can eulogize the armed forces the pigs the schlubby mustachioed rescue workers with your tearful montages of wars standoffs and celebrity house fires all assembled to the reactionary tunes of 3 Doors Down or Nickelback; I prefer a subtler form of heroism you know the lone voice who amid the Russophilic ostentatiously intellectual acclaim for Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita dares to raise an eyebrow at this dry Goethe wannabeI therefore am a great hero because fighting the insidious cabal of 'respectable' opinion I offer my head to the rabble in order to warn you what a lifeless stinkbomb Stoner is John Williams I suspect was an author who was better suited to actuarial work or fumigating Something prosaic His main problem is that he wants desperately to tell you everything He's adamant that you know this or that about his main character William Stoner's psychological make up habits and proclivities but unfortunately he'd rather put Mr Stoner behind a glass wall at the zoo and recite a bunch of vague adjectives and banal activities relevant to him In placing Stoner in the zoo and preparing a dry summation about him he deprives Stoner of life abbreviates him into a conceptThis is one of the worst kind of all writers in my opinion He's committed to telling us and not to showing us He wants to control your attitude toward the characters by completely demystifying them Williams lays everything on the table as if he's handing you a psychological abstract More than a few times I wished that John Williams were not dead and were ready at hand so I could give him a chocolate swirlie And then I pulled back in my condemnation for a moment I rethought my rage There are literally jillions of shitty writers on this planet and a not insignificant number have had their works published Why should I blame John Williams for having a dream a grand ambition? I wish for nothing less myself The intended repository for my rage and general ill will should be those who have applauded this crapfest the ones who've elevated it to the status of minor classic of 20th century American literature The straw which broke the etc came midway through the book when Stoner's wife until then a mousy retiring sickly sort adopts a new attitude after the death of her father She bobs her hair it's the 1920s and throws out her old clothes and buys some of those shapeless flapper type shifts and conseuentially she declares war on her husband The psychology might as well be written in neon She resents the dull and not very affluent academic life her husband provides The switch is so abrupt and ridiculous that all of the author's explanations and expositions do nothing to make it palatable even in his stubbornly distanced and abstract telling I've read better character development when we got in small groups to discuss our first stories in Creative Writing 101

  9. RandomAnthony RandomAnthony says:

    John Williams's Stoner blew me away I've never read anything like it and some passages left me moved to the point of exhaustion When I finished I put down the book well the Nook picked it up again and re read highlighted pages Stoner gave me strength; if you believe that the right books find you at the right time as sometimes I believe this book found me at the right time Stoner outlines the life of a farm kid who at his dad's recommendation attends college for agricultural studies but switches to literature and becomes a low level university faculty member for most of his career He marries an affluent city girl starts teaching and loves his daughter His marriage begins to crumble and he starts an affair with a student He runs afoul of university politics and lands an insulting teaching schedule Williams manages with breathtaking grace to create complex nuanced characters through lean careful sentences He'll pass years with a few heartbreaking paragraphs and allow the reader to generate what's between the lines Stoner is like a Rothko painting put to words; empty blotches perhaps at first glance but sublime minimalist depth with time and attention Characters change but not all the way then change back again and if a happy ending emerges it's a still sublime happiness I'm a teacher so I was of course overlaying my own background on the text while reading But I think I would have appreciated Stoner anyway The novel's power rises from its uiet subtle movement An excellent introduction I don't think I've ever said that beforemost introductions are stupid in the NYRB edition includes a rate Williams interview in which the author describes the main character as heroic for essentially sticking to his own values and doing the best he can What might appear as small failures are potentially victories in the context of Stoner's values which in other characters' eyes sometimes appear as stubbornness And even if you can't control every element of your environment the politics at your job how the people you love respond to challenges and other variables across the multitudes of contexts you can respond with grace and dignity And when nearing death he experiences this A sense of his own identity came upon him with a sudden force and he felt the power of it He was himself and he knew what he had beenI wanted to raise my fists in the air and recognize all of the invisible punk rock people living uietly without affectation holding as true as possible to their cores in the face of unrelenting messages that there is something wrong with them and they should feel other than they do and be other than what they are Stoner is amazing You might not like it I suppose as some of my GR friends didn't But even glancing through the text searching out uotes makes me feel alive For me Stoner is one of those books Thank you Mr Williams You made my weekend And beyondPS In some of the book's NYRB promotional materials Tom Hanks praises Stoner I swear Mr Hanks if you turn this novel into a movie I will beat your ass At least on the internet I'm afraid you'll include scenes in which you're standing on a leaf blown uad deep in thought staring into the sky while treacly strings play in the background and the camera pans high and away Don't fucking ruin this novel Mr Hanks I'm warning you

  10. Candi Candi says:

    a uiet sadness for the common plight was never far beneath any moment of his livingThis novel damn near broke my heart Come to think of it it did break my heart I’ve been picking up the pieces and trying to put them back together for the past eleven days since finishing it I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t already been said about this exceptional piece of writing We are William Stoner Isn’t there a piece of him in every single one of us? We go about our lives with the best intentions Looking for friendship Searching for love Thinking we’ve found it and then not exactly knowing what to do with it Making mistakes and yet enduring Sometimes doing battle but mostly resolving ourselves to our individual circumstances The past gathered out of the darkness where it stayed and the dead raised themselves to live before him; and the past and the dead flowed into the present among the alive so that he had for an intense instant a vision of denseness into which he was compacted and from which he could not escape and had no wish to escapeThis is another one of those contemplative novels that leaves me feeling like I’m in the presence of a wise soul He or she speaks to me uietly but with an underlying urgency I cannot ignore This soul is not showy but uite pure and simple It’s achingly honest I have to wonder though – do we all necessarily damage one another? Do the effects of a hard life trickle down through the generations so endlessly? I hope not Love marriage and parenting – such challenging waters to navigate at times Our best is never good enough Perhaps we are the harshest judges of our own actions Dispassionately reasonably he contemplated the failure that his life must appear to beIt can’t get depressing than that Yet there were glimmers of hopefulness and happiness that guided me through to the end of this book Moments in time that make it all worthwhile Love for literature and finding love itself Loving a child Do we really need an abundance of everything? There were some passages that really took hold of me and wouldn’t let go I’m still in the clutches of Stoner’s and John Williams’ words Sometimes immersed in his books there would come to him the awareness of all that he did not know of all that he had not read; and the serenity for which he labored was shattered as he realized the little time he had in life to read so much to learn what he had to knowI’ve always been able to relate to that Sitting surrounded by our massive piles of books we can all empathize I’m sure the person one loves at first is not the person one loves at last and that love is not an end but a process through which one person attempts to know anotherIt kind of makes you want to fall in love all over again doesn’t it?I don’t know why I waited so long to read this novel I knew I would love it This was the first book I picked up on the first day of the new year new decade I wouldn’t be surprised if it remains my favorite of the year

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