Stoner

Stoner a novel by John Williams.
Stoner is one of those literary, “You just have to read this book,” recommendations wherein one must suspect all the English Majors agreed, to be part of the club, one must read such novels.

Stoner – John Williams & John McGahern

The novel’s story is set against an academic career as an English teacher then professor, and parts of that mirror the author’s life. From cradle to grave, and parts are almost painful, the evocative nature of the journey, and how it is told.

There’s a death scene, a bereaved parent, and that properly evokes both my professional and personal experiences, so, as such, it’s well-constructed.

The classical terminology is “verisimilitude,” and that’s part of what makes this novel work. Feels true, as it captures what I recall of the decadent, somewhat inbred nature of universities and academic lives.

It’s not all like that, but the peccadillos and flirtatious, the consequences, and the nature of tenured position, yes, all part of it.

In my course of university life, I had one professor who took a brilliant subject and absolutely sucked the life out of, ruining a branch of English poetry for me.

Obviously wasn’t Shakespeare, though.

Still, throughout the novel, I kept thinking of that one professor, almost with contemptible pity.

Dated novel, yet timeless.

Stoner

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