Audrey's Reviews > Stoner

Stoner by John  Williams
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's review
Dec 31, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: five-stars
Read from December 30 to 31, 2011 , read count: 1

I'm ashamed to admit that Stoner sat on my bookshelf for a couple years before I picked it up. The synopsis wasn't very appealing, and the cover was a real turn off. But once inside, the story is a treasure.

John Williams takes you by the hand and walks you through Stoner's life with more skill and ease than any author I've ever read. This is an exquisitely written story of a man who was born and raised to be a farmer. His parents send him to University to study agriculture where he experiences a literary awakening, and he decides to stay on. The novel is about many things, humility, acceptance, morality, prejudice, relationships, honesty, love... I found it almost biblical in how it made me feel about Bill Stoner.

Although this book was first published in 1965 it doesn't read like a book from that era. The language is fresh, modern and simply beautiful. Even when John Williams himself makes an appearance in the story when he writes that Stoner 'came' back to the University, you notice it, and somehow it's not an intrusion, instead it makes you feel as if the University is your (the reader's) own home, and that Williams is welcoming you to join him there with Stoner.

On the downside, there is not much in the way of humour; however the emotions it evokes are warm and sustainable. Another minus is the typeset which is old fashioned and off-putting, and something I wish publishers would avoid. Oh, and design a new cover, please! It's a story killer! I imagine it would only appeal to the 60+ academic male variety.

Typeset and cover aside, I can't praise this book enough. Stoner is a treasure from beginning to end. Get a copy, you won't be disappointed!
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