After a particularly exhilarating discussion in the Reading Group this evening I think this excellent review by Marie on Vulpes Libris just about rounds it off !
I had never heard of John Williams, but had picked up some of the excited literary gossip in last year’s papers about ‘Stoner’. First published in 1965, it seems not to have attracted much attention until it appeared as a Vintage paperback in 2012. But when writers of the stature of Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan say of it, ‘a terrific novel of echoing sadness’ and ‘a beautiful novel…a marvellous discovery for everyone who loves literature’ you know you are on to something special.
It seems slightly incredible that such a good book could be about the very uneventful, in many ways sad, life of a professor in an American university. You follow Stoner from his young years as a student and farmer, right up to his death, married, with an estranged daughter and a half-failed career behind him. In his disastrous marriage, and his doomed love match…
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