4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A hidden (for too long!) gem,
This review is from: Stoner: A Novel (Vintage Classics) (Kindle Edition)
'Stoner' is one of those rare books; a hidden treasure in a literary world where the plot of a novel alone is what seems to keeps a reader's attention. This novel does not have much in the way of a plot, however that doesn't seem to matter. The main protagonist is so well executed and developed that you find yourself immersed in his world from the very first chapter right up until the point where you (reluctantly!) turn the final page.
William Stoner is born into a working class farming family in rural America but his life changes forever when he goes to college and discovers his one true love: literature.
Upon graduating, he becomes a lecturer in English Literature while facing challenges both at work due to his ongoing feud with the Head of Arts, and at home with his wife, Edith, and her recurrent 'illnesses' and erratic behaviour. The novel follows Stoner right through his life until the very end when you feel as though you have truly lost a friend as Stoner is so well depicted that you would not be surprised if you saw him in the street one day on his way to buy a pint of milk.
'Stoner's secondary characters are as equally charming; the demanding and sometimes conniving Edith who makes poor Stoner's home life a misery, Lomax who begins a feud with Stoner at work when he fails a student for pretending to know more than he actually does, and Finch and Masters, the first (and possibly only) friends that Stoner has. Each character has their own flaws (even Stoner himself who frustrates his wife and angers his students and colleagues) and yet they are easily forgiven and understood due to the beautiful way in which they are developed by the author's hand.
The novel's haunting first chapter, which describes how Stoner is rarely remembered by those he left behind, may open the door to the sadness of his often lonely world, but to the reader Stoner will not be forgotten in a hurry.