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Stoner

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,116 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (24 April 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713904666
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713904666
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,770,143 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

Have you read the novel everyone is talking about about? Stoner: the 2013 surprise international bestseller --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Our house is full of books. My wife is an avid reader - I was, but am not anymore, tending to find my busy life and increasing age prefers the short attention span reading of magazines, the easy entertainment of the telly, or increasingly I simply relax listening to music. Occasionally, a new author will be found that captures my imagination and I will enjoy reading novels once again - Raymond Feist for instance for some pure fantasy escapism, or Ian Banks for some slightly more challenging ordinary fiction - but in general, reading books is not something I do very often these days. So, when my wife put STONER down and said "you must read this" I thought ok, lets take a look at it.

It doesn't sound particularly inspiring. It tells the tale of an fairly ordinary person - Stoner - leading a not particularly eventful life as an English lecturer and assistant professor in a middle-of-nowhere American University. It starts before the first world war and ends with his death in 1956. It doesn't contain the obvious heroes of science fantasy, or the twists and suspense of more normal fiction. It's just his life - personal, work and everything around it. Don't worry, I haven't spoiled the story - the author tells you all this on the first page of the book. Not particularly inspiring.

Don't be mistaken though. This is just so beautifully written, so keenly observed, so evenly paced and so complete, that it might really be THE PERFECT NOVEL.
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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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