Stoner : A Novel

4.28 (60,316 ratings by Goodreads)
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Colum McCann once called Stoner one of the great forgotten novels of the past century, but it seems it is forgotten no longer - in 2013 translations of Stoner began appearing on bestseller lists across Europe. Forty-eight years after its first, quiet publication in the US, Stoner is finally finding the wide and devoted readership it deserves. Have you read it yet?

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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 19mm | 223g
  • Vintage Classics
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0
  • 0099561549
  • 9780099561545
  • 506

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'A marvellous discovery for anyone who loves literature' Ian McEwan, Today programme, BBC Radio 4

‘A terrific novel of echoing sadness’ Julian Barnes

‘A book for everyone, democratic in how it breaks the heart… It is a triumph of literary endeavour. It deserves the status of a classic. I wish right now I could slip it through these words and into the hands of all who read’ Colum McCann, Independent

‘A brilliant, beautiful, inexorably sad, wise, and elegant novel’ Nick Hornby, The Believer
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Review Text

"A terrific novel of echoing sadness"
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Review quote

"This quietly brilliant book, subtle, slow and painfully real, almost feels like it's written by Stoner himself." -- Eleanor Halls * GQ * "I was stunned by it... It's beautifully written in simple but brilliant prose, a novel of an ordinary life, an examination of a quiet tragedy, the work of a great but little-known writer" -- Ruth Rendell * Guardian * "A masterpiece of sad lucidity, as moving as it is psychologically compelling" -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times * "It is a remarkably affecting story, told in quiet, unshowy prose" -- Stefan Collini * Times Literary Supplement * "In recent times I have owed more to word of mouth than to the statements of reviewers, when it comes to finding my way to rewarding work published or reissued... This is also true, or truer still, of Stoner" -- Karl Miller * Times Literary Supplement * "My favourite book of the year...a masterpiece-beautifully written with a rare tenderness and wisdom that will make you want to read it again" -- Jonathan Pugh * Daily Mail * "With prose of breathtaking clarity, and a narrative that flows along seamlessly, Williams subverts the American dream via an underachieving and rather unlucky university lecturer... Anyone who loves literature will surely love this" -- Judy Moir * Herald * "The other book that cheered me up this year was Stoner by John this year - rather triumphantly (and permanently this time, I think)" -- Robin Robertson * Glasgow Sunday Herald * "A compassionate depiction of Everyman that celebrates the transformative power of literature" -- Melonie Clarke * The Lady * "A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life... I'm amazed a novel this good escaped general attention for so long" -- Ian McEwan "A terrific novel of echoing sadness" -- Julian Barnes
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About John Williams

John Williams was born on August 29, 1922 in Clarksville, Texas. He served in the United States Army Air Force from 1942 to 1945 in China, Burma and India. The Swallow Press published his first novel, Nothing But the Night, in 1948, as well as his first book of poems, The Broken Landscape, in 1949. Macmillan published Williams' second novel, Butcher's Crossing, in 1960.
After recieving his B.A. and M.A. from the University of Denver, and his Ph.D from the University of Missouri, Williams returned in 1954 to the University of Denver where he taught literature and the craft of writing for thirty years. In 1963 Williams received a fellowship to study at Oxford University where where he received a Rockefeller grant enabling him to travel and research in Italy for his last novel, Augustus, published in 1972. John Williams died in Arkansas on March 4, 1994.
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Rating details

60,316 ratings
4.28 out of 5 stars
5 49% (29,390)
4 35% (21,341)
3 12% (7,230)
2 3% (1,811)
1 1% (544)

Our customer reviews

These three hundred pages took me longer to read than I thought--it wasn't exactly a book that I couldn't put down--but I loved every page. The characters are slowly and thoughtfully developed, and Stoner is a flawed and compelling character who is hard not to adore. This is one I'll read over and more
by Amber
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