Review: Stoner

Stoner by John Williams
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father’s farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely.

Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value.

Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured

I never thought I would look back on this book with fondness, when I started it with so much frustration.

The book was hard to get into. Not because it is difficult to read or to understand, but because was very boring to me. This continues well into the book, for at least two-thirds. However, the further I got, the more determined I was to finish it. At that point I also felt familiarity towards the main character and I wanted to see the ending of his story being told. It is still important to be said that nothing of any importance happens in this book. There’s no big relevation, no big Eureka moment. Still, in some way, the book happens to pull you in just enough to make you want to continue reading.

However, I would not recommend this book to anyone, unless you would like to read about the bland, and in some (or most) aspects failed life of a teacher who hardly ever does anything remotely interesting.

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