Just loved Stoner by John Williams, the ‘forgotten classic’ from 1965 that has been creating a real buzz in the last couple of years, being lauded by the great and famous. It deserves all the plaudits.
It is kind of hard to explain quite why this everyday story of a man from birth to death is so compelling. The life, and the death, are ordinary, almost boring, a little damaged, sometimes joyful. The writing is just amazing, simple, elegant and sparse. When I read the blurb on the book I thought it didn’t sound terribly interesting but within the first few pages you are caught up in the life of William Stoner,off a hard-scrabble farm, who goes to the University of Missouri to study agriculture and is simply overwhelmed by what he encounters in his required English lit class, and then proceeds to build a life as an academic. It is such a simple story, it feels very real and very human, and oddly modern.
Have a go, you won’t regret it…it feels like a gift from John Williams.