Yes. The author's skill permeates every line of it.
The few characters progress truthfully and despite their small number, the book is never boring. It has so much to teach us.
Robin Field's tone suits the book perfectly - a bit monotonous, even bored at times, dragging his voice - to get the story through to us. All the while it was very easy to listen to and I got through most of it while driving around the city.
Not a particular moment. The entire book is an event in itself.
If you like stories that move you deeply in their own way, go ahead!
The almost haunting narration of a man's life, in the style of the American literary naturalists of that era, yet not without compassion. That tone--at once distanced, yet not without compassion--I found compelling.
There really is only one character in this novel--Stoner.
It's understandable, to me, why this novel has been historically overlooked. While it is a remarkable piece of fiction, it is going to be vastly more interesting to me, a man who also spent his life teaching literature. English majors--some of them at least--would love this old 1930's novel.
It is not a spoiler to reveal that Professor William Stoner, the eponymous main character, dies at the end of this novel since that fact is revealed to us at the outset. His demise, as described there, causes so few ripples, such a small wake (and I use the word purposefully), that we must wonder if the narrative of his life can be worth reading. But it is--because this terribly, achingly ordinary life is made to sound extraordinary by the power and passion of the writing invested by John Williams in the character. And this is fitting inasmuch as the only real passion--albeit not the only love--in Stoner???s life is literature.
As in the naturalistic novels of the late nineteenth century, our attention is drawn to the harrowing burdens of Stoner???s existence far more than to his very few glories. He is victimized at so many turns that it is hard to consider him a protagonist, and yet, ultimately, his graceful stoicism and kindness gain in us a certain respect--especially in those of us who have ever asked ourselves if our lives will have made any difference to the world. The novel is a painful answer to that question. But if beauty is truth and if the discovery of truth does make live worth living, then this beautifully-crafted work is worth reading.
this book was published in 1965
it sold all of 2,000 copies that year
looking back, we probably shouldn't be surprised
it was later rediscovered by european critics
they had the wisdom to recognize its' true worth
it is a real masterpiece of understated beauty
how does an introverted intellectual live life on his terms ?
how can a man fight the world's pressing him into its' mold ?
how can you recover from betrayal and disappointment ?
the book uses a college professor's career to answer these questions
the steady adversity of midwestern life provides the plot
the book is an extraordinary meditation on an ordinary life
I found it moving and some beautiful writing, but so bleak, so frustrating that he was unable to be more assertive and express his needs, and he was such a withered character in himself – depicted powerfully by the writer. However my sympathy was engaged with him and the other unfulfilled characters – his bitter wife, his destroyed daughter, the envious, revengeful and bitter academic rivals, and his briefly involved parents - like scarecrows in themselves.
A Sad story of a lonely man.I guess the book was just not my cup of Tea.Even though the book was well written I justI wanted to take Stoner out for Ice Cream. I thought that might Cheer him up.
It must have been very difficult for john Williams to write such a depressing book. Robin Field did an excellent job reading. Would look for him again.