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The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  750 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The story of a wealthy, fiftyish American widow, recently a famous stage beauty, but now "drifting." The novel opens soon after her husband's death and her retirement from the theatre, as Mrs. Stone tries to adjust to her aimless new life in Rome. She is adjusting, too, to aging ("The knowledge that her beauty was lost had come upon her recently and it was still occasional ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published September 17th 1993 by New Directions (first published 1950)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,320)
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A.M.
Apr 06, 2014 A.M. rated it really liked it
Shelves: i-own
Youth and beauty are everything in the arts and when the famous stage actress, Mrs Stone, turns fifty and foolhardily tries to act as Juliet, the backlash is sufficient for her to leave the stage. She and her wealthy husband go on a holiday. Her husband has a heart attack on the plane and she is left alone. She stays in Rome and amasses a new audience of sycophants. It is about the 1950’s but it is a conservative world with a vague mention of homosexuality in a couple of places.
She is a tragic f
...more
Lucy Ibn al-Rashid

Mrs Karen Stone, a faded American actress is adrift in life.

She gave up her career after a disastrous experience playing Juliet, her ridiculous husband, with whom she had a mother-son relationship died two years ago and to top it all, she's nothing but a shadow of her former self.

Well in her fifties, she can't accept the reality she's old now, the beauty which was once a shield and a means to gain power, fame and privilege, gone.

She is currently living in Rome, wandering around spending her lat
...more
Sara
Jul 11, 2007 Sara rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who enjoyed Tennessee Williams' plays
Although Tennesee Williams is most well-known as a playwrite, this novella was the first thing I read by Williams. An aging actress has an "All About Eve-esque" crisis when she retires from the stage. She travels to Roma and deals with her loss of youth, beauty, and career. Mrs. Stone has an affair with a young Italian hottie who uses Mrs. Stone as his sugar mama. I also loved the movie version of this book starring Helen Mirren and Anne Bancroft.
Sabrina
Jun 12, 2014 Sabrina rated it really liked it
Those who like nice, neatly tied little pretty packages of stories will not appreciate this book because well it's not a simplistic book. In fact, this book is pretty intense! Not a fairy tale, that's for sure. More of a cautionary tale for its times. Of course nowadays no one looks askance at May/December relationship where the woman is older, but the fact that a woman would actually pay for sex? Well, that's still a shocker even by today's standards. I found this book interesting in the way t ...more
David
Apr 09, 2015 David rated it liked it
Oh dear. What to say about this one? Such incisive writing, and beautiful in so many ways, but then the awful ending that I should have seen coming right from the first, that anyone would have seen we were headed for, but not me, I always want things to end well. Worst of all, when I was done, it was hard not to think that Mrs. Stone was more like a gay man of that era than a woman, but that only made me feel sexist for having such a thought. In any case, I was so hoping for something more inter ...more
Denis
Feb 03, 2016 Denis rated it it was amazing
After reading this gem of a book, I was wishing Williams had written more novels. Brief but complex, filled with themes and characters that are very representative of the Williams world as we know it from the theater, this sharp, cruel, witty, moving novel shines through its exquisite style and profound, bittersweet intelligence. For some reasons, it made me think of Truman Capote, too. It’s ambiguous on many levels, yet remarkably frank on some other ones, especially sexuality. Vivien Leigh gav ...more
Susan
Mar 24, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Years ago a professor remarked in class that there are no heroines in literature above the age of 30. So far I've only been able to come up with Mrs. Dalloway, and now Mrs. Stone. An interesting character study of an aging actress attempting to cope with her loss of beauty and importance, this novella must be one of the first pieces of literature to mention menopause.
Alex Ricard
Oct 04, 2015 Alex Ricard rated it really liked it
This book is all about two simple, powerful fundamentals of every person's life: The relationship between our present and our past, and the relationship between our memories and the truth.

Mrs. Stone is in denial, sort of. She is depressed, and she is listless, and she doesn't know how she got here. She used to be, or so she says, someone important. Someone worth watching. But now she retreats into the shadows, in another world. Here, she can escape her past and be her own new person.

But Rome is
...more
Sara
Dec 05, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
تينيسي وليامز الذي عُرف بميله للتأليف المسرحي أكثر من الرواية أثبت عن طريق "الربيع الروماني للسيدة ستون" أنه روائي من الطراز الأول. هذه ليست رواية مسليّة ولا يمكن أن تمر مرور الكرام على القارئ الحصيف الذي سيكتشف ما بين السطور أكثر مما هو ظاهر من خلالها.

الرواية كلها تتمحور حول "الإنجراف" وهذه الكلمة التي خصص تينيسي عنها فصلاً كاملاً وهو الأخير. وهي كلمة توحي بالخطر وبأن ثمّة هاوية تنتظر في نهاية المطاف السيدة ستون التي تنجرف وهي واعية تماماً بما يحدث لها وواعية أكثر بأن لا حول لها ولا قوة. وهو ب
...more
R.a.
Mar 09, 2014 R.a. rated it really liked it

Here is a delightful little novel(la) from Tennessee Williams—the only one he apparently penned.

“Beguiling” describes this piece. Like some of his plays, a deeper investigation of life lurks below the seeming “light” title.

Protagonist: Mrs. Stone. Stage Actress, (Retired). Socialite.
Plot: Mrs. Stone begins her “new life” of retired leisure in Rome.

Well . . . no surprise so far given Williams’ characters in other work.

Nor is there surprise in the “uncovering” of Mrs. Stone’s character as the narr
...more
Laura
Apr 19, 2014 Laura rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wanda, Jeannette
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
A failing star is faced with a life-style change when her rich husband suddenly dies while they are en route to Italy. She then sets off in a series of flings with gigolos found for her by an aging contessa. Each contact spirals further out of control until she becomes obsessed with one young man, who initially treats her well, but then with disdain.

A movie was made based on this book and it is available at YouTube
Roland
Oct 19, 2014 Roland rated it really liked it
Before picking this up I'd only read some of his plays, but I've been on a bizarre urge to read nearly everything Williams has written, so I checked this one out. It's a short read, but I really enjoyed it and look forward to getting into his short stories once I finish tearing through his plays. The story is what you'd expect from Williams' earlier work. A faded, former theater star is in Rome and having a relationship with a gigolo who's only with her in an attempt to squeeze out as much money ...more
Brandon Rife
Feb 01, 2015 Brandon Rife rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
"...the worst thing about love between a very young and a somewhat old person is the terrifying loss of dignity that it seems to call for..."

Karen Stone, an aging stage actress, has recently been widowed. Finding it increasingly difficult to work as a thespian, presumably due to her age, and now the sole beneficiary of her late husband's wealth, Mrs. Stone retires in Rome, where she leads a responsibility-free life. When a contessa introduces Mrs. Stone to a young gigolo named Paolo, the two beg
...more
Lois
Sep 06, 2014 Lois rated it liked it
There's nothing new about the cougar concept. Tennessee Williams describes the sad case of a woman who has acquired a young Italian lover 30 years her junior. The Roman world he describes is bizarre and fascinating. A decrepit and impoverished contessa acquires a stable of gigolos, splitting their financial takes with her. The gigolos move easily and shamelessly between male and female patrons.

Now that I have read a few Tennessee Williams works, I can see that he has many female characters who h
...more
Paul
Feb 03, 2010 Paul rated it really liked it
A wonderful story filled with aviary metaphor about an aging actress fled to Rome. Drifting toward forgetting in a cloudy chiffon of American abroad make-believe . Her apartment overlooks the Spanish steps. Below walks and wags masculine sex...
Bachyboy
Mar 28, 2011 Bachyboy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a little book but beautifully written. Williams captures the angst of Mrs Stone as she deals with widowhood, her retirement from the stage and a much younger Italian lover. Really worth reading.
Evelyn Marshall
Jan 18, 2015 Evelyn Marshall rated it liked it
The story is about a lost older American widow who finds a new life in Rome with a young gigolo.

Tennessee Williams is a playwright first. This is a novella. The difference between a play and a novel is that a play is all scenes while a novel is heavily loaded with narration. In Williams' case, he is a lyrical writer, rich in romantic detail. But he went overboard with the narration in this novella. He sacrifices much needed dialog.

Having seen the movie (several times) which was superb and now ha
...more
Katherine
Oct 22, 2015 Katherine rated it it was amazing
Tennessee Williams is a god! A motto for those with imposter syndrome: "What's talent but the ability to get away with something?" The novel follows the purposeless (but not directionless) "drift" of a ruthless, career-driven actress now retired and in her 50s (retired because the tradition of playing Juliet until an actress is about to drop dead no longer works these days, sadly), who has to pay young men to date her. I ask, why doesn't she just go with men her own age? But Mrs. Stone loves bea ...more
Philip Tha- B. Toole
Mar 22, 2015 Philip Tha- B. Toole rated it it was amazing
I will readily admit that for some few years when still in the flower of my youth, I believed this book to be somehow related to the movie Roman Holiday. Yes, I realize the stories are fairly-- well, perhaps egregiously different. Nonetheless, since Hollywood hid the involvement of Dalton Trumbo all those years, how was I to know??

In any case, this is a splendid little work by Tenn. Williams that comes highly recommendef, dahlin'..
Anna
Mar 28, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
I really liked the descriptions of Rome. The best part of this book that was the most haunting for me was the exhausted self awareness of the sad, aging heroine. She doesn't have any illusions, but can't stop herself from succumbing to temptation and happiness that she knows will be fleeting. It also doesn't stop the end from being awful. This is the kind of book I kept thinking about for a while afterward.
Daniel Rosler
Apr 08, 2015 Daniel Rosler rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
Exceptionally beautiful prose. Thematically, this parallels the pains of the aging theater star played by Bette Davis—charming even when cynical—in "All About Eve", which, may be the best written film of all time.
Osha
Aug 31, 2015 Osha rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than the movie

Older woman/ younger man. Story line is no longer risqué but, Rome in the late 50's remains as alluring as ever.
Karim El
Jan 28, 2015 Karim El rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
After 6 chapters I stopped reading and I lost any desire to continue. In 6 chapters, the author couldn't say anything more than how Mrs Stone met Paolo. It was a big shock
Kathryn
I love the notion of "the drift". Rounding off with the spooky line of, "Look, I've finally stopped the drift." Waaah! NO! DON'T DO IT!
Michael
Dec 24, 2015 Michael rated it it was amazing
Precise and funny...poetic and devastating--all of the things that made Tennessee Williams a master dramatist.
Cécileontheroad
Très très belle écriture. Histoire touchante, mélancolique, dérangeante parfois. Mais une vraie belle lecture.
Giovanna
2016 Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge--
a book published (1950) before I was born
...more
Wendy
Feb 11, 2016 Wendy rated it did not like it
English 525: American Literature 1950 to Present. Awfully boring.
Betul Aisha
Dec 10, 2014 Betul Aisha rated it liked it
Shelves: roman-ormanı
üzücü...çıkışı bulmak için ilk şart, çıkışın varlığına inanmak.inanmamak...üzücü.
Dollanganger_
Jul 17, 2014 Dollanganger_ rated it really liked it
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Thomas Lanier Williams III, better known by the nickname Tennessee Williams, was a major American playwright of the twentieth century who received many of the top theatrical awards for his work. He moved to New Orleans in 1939 and changed his name to "Tennessee," the state of his father's birth. He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for A Streetcar Named Desire in 1948 and for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ...more
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“His beauty was notable even in a province where the lack of it is more exceptional in a young man.” 0 likes
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