review Stoner author John Williams 103

summary Stoner author John Williams

review Stoner author John Williams 103 å [Ebook] ➦ Stoner ➬ John Williams – Dogsalonbristol.co.uk 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 William Stoner is born at the end oWilliam 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 enc. 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 hereAlso 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

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Orebears and confronts an essential solitudeJohn Williams’s luminous and deeply moving novel is a work of uiet 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 worl. 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

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Stoner author John WilliaOunters 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 f. 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