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Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics) [Kindle Edition]

John Williams , John McGahern
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (990 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description


'It's the most marvellous discovery for everyone who loves literature' Ian McEwan, BBC Radio 4

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 Description


"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)

Book Description

'A masterly portrait of a truly virtuous and dedicated man' New Yorker

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 851 KB
  • Print Length: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital (30 Nov. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A8FXT8M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (990 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,151 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
288 of 297 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful forgotten modern classic 27 May 2013
By Ann Fairweather TOP 500 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Kindle Edition
It only took a few pages to know that I was reading an unknown, forgotten masterpiece. The writing is incredibly beautiful, the kind that is so smooth, so fluid, that you forget you are even reading, reaching straight into the heart of the matter. Stoner has become one of my favourite book of all times. It seems slightly incredible that such a good book could be about the very uneventful, sad life of a professor in an American university. You follow Stoner from his young years as a student and farmer, right up to his death, married, with an estranged daughter and a half-failed career behind him. It is somehow difficult to say how fascinating, gripping this book is, but it is. Stoner struggles to affirm himself as a formidable intellectual that he is in his field, because he is so self-effacing, so humble of character. You really wish him to take a more vigorous stand against his dreadful colleague who will undermine and ruin his whole life eventually. But at work like at home, with his very demanding, difficult wife, Stoner always chooses the path of least resistance, and lets his life ebb away...This attitude becomes near unbearable for the reader when it comes to the love of his life and yet again... He is a maddening character yet so real that you love him and desperately want him to be happy. There is certainly a lot of Stoner in us and why his story is so moving, so affecting. It also talks of an attitude to life that is the complete opposite of what we want now. It is about a very quiet character, and an inner life that does not need outside validations. It is about valuing the life of the mind above all else, even if it means renouncing happiness in other ways. It is about avoiding confrontations with loved ones even if it means giving-up your own rights. Stoner really is a great, great story, with a deep flamboyance, resonance very few novels possess. To read and to cherish.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
By Allie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Stoner is in each of us, and each of us is in Stoner.
From the outside he is an ordinary, anonymous man; indistinguishable from thousands – millions – of others. He lives an unremarkable life and dies, and nobody remembers him, much.
And yet inside, inside, Stoner’s life is a diorama, as ours is; a kaleidoscope of ever-shifting granules, some dull, some sharp, others iridescent. Within the little landscape of his life is a vista of hopes and dreams, a reality of drudge, moments of soaring passion and elevation of the soul, periods of disillusionment which is almost despair. Professionally, he has times of fulfilment, also sloughs of disenchantment. Often he takes the line of least resistance but sometimes he digs his heels in and refuses to budge. He has those occasional infinitesimal shifts of self-awareness and understanding which connect him for brief, glorious moments to himself, to others and to the world. But for the most part he exists in the semi-gloom of half-consciousness, extended periods of absent-mindedness and inattention which cause him to miss out on the mountain-peak moments which would have stayed with him to the grave and which, in the end, cause him to label his life as a failure.
Stoner’s is a passive life – rarely is he proactive in his own fate - taking what comes at him with a stoic resignation; he is no hero, but he has a quiet honour. He makes wrong choices, living to regret the choices but embracing the consequences of them all the same, so that we can only admire the waste in spite of ourselves.
Am I not describing us all?
John Williams uses Stoner’s ordinary, extra-ordinary life to explore the enormous gulfs which exist between what we see and what we understand, and between what we understand and our ability to express it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The first two paragraphs of this novel summarise the unremarkable life of William Stoner, and the rest of the book gives the details of this unremarkable man, unhappily married, a failure in his career, with an alcoholic daughter. But he dies content and fulfilled, and remarkably the reader comes to believe that this is richly deserved. His is an examined life, and his failures and a few small successes add up to a rich and profound existence. I have absolutely no idea how the author conjures up so much from such apparently sterile material, but he does, and it is a masterpiece.
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111 of 120 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A life lived flat. 10 Jan. 2013
By JoannaD
I loved this story. A tale of a life lived flat but told with such internal depth and subtle emotion. It deals effortlessly with the layers of deceit and self-deceit that sometimes exist in relationships - particularly 'public' relationships - and the creeping discomfort that comes with understanding that life is short and it often belongs to other people. It is sad. But not depressingly so. Our hero, Stoner, could have made other choices - he just didn't.

I finished it this morning, buried my head in my pillow and cried a bit. I realise that I will miss William Stoner. Technically, I spent only two days with him but I felt the whole life of the character. This is one that will keep flooding back.
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86 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why is this novel not famous? 21 Mar. 2003
It's great to have Stoner back in print in the UK, along with Augustus, both with wonderful new introductions. It's been 30 years since I first read Stoner and reading it again for the third or fourth time I can only confirm that the novel more than stands the test of time. It is a story of an honest man, of personal integrity in the face of considerable obstacles. Very few contemporary novels have moved me to the same extent or depth as this one. C.P. Snow in a review of the first British edition asked the question, "Why is this novel not famous?" Why not, indeed.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Lovely read
Published 2 days ago by L. G. Kwok
5.0 out of 5 stars An exercise in emotional mastery.
Impossible to stop reading once you start. Stoner is a novel about nothing more significant than an unassuming man, and his disappointing life. Read more
Published 5 days ago by jtawton
5.0 out of 5 stars An ordinary tale, told in an extraordinary way
A treatise on an ordinary and unremarkable life, on the face of it, and yet for a farm boy to rise to a position as professor of English Literature is in itself remarkable. Read more
Published 5 days ago by John Beresford
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly beautiful writing. Get past the first few pages and ...
Utterly beautiful writing. Get past the first few pages and you will be hooked. Get a bit further and you won't put it down til it's finished. Read more
Published 8 days ago by gloria
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous
Sad, reflective, beautiful and above all moving. This book stands to show there are those amongst us with extraordinary talent. John Williams had it in spades.
Published 11 days ago by Sarah Stokes
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully
understated writing style, beautifully descriptive
Published 11 days ago by LK
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Captivating from beginning to end and beautifully written.
Published 13 days ago by P. A. Bevan
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
An excellent read, though quite sad in parts.
Published 14 days ago by Zimella
3.0 out of 5 stars Great service
An excellent service, book not so good.
Published 16 days ago by Wendy Gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Not as good as expected.
Published 17 days ago by Strawberry
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