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Stoner (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – June 20, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 4,598 ratings

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From the Publisher

Augustus Butchers Crossing English Renaissance Poetry Nothing But the Night Stoner: 50th Anniversary Edition Stoner
Augustus Butchers Crossing English Renaissance Poetry: A Collection of Shorter Poems Nothing But the Night Stoner: 50th Anniversary Edition Stoner
About this book Williams transforms and transcends the epistolary novel in his biographical treatment of the founder of the Roman Empire. The myth of the making of the American west is dismantled in this tale of a Harvard dropout who seeks adventure hunting one of he last great buffalo herds. An essential anthology of poetry from the period that saw one of the richest flowerings of English verse. Williams’s first novel is a searing look at a man’s relationship with his absent father, and how early trauma manifests throughout one’s life. A special hardback edition of the book to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of its publication that also includes a previously unpublished correspondence between John Williams and his agent about its writing and publication. William Stoner emerges from his dirt-poor Missouri farming family to become an English scholar and an unlikely existential hero, standing in stark relief against an unforgiving world.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This reprint of Williams's remarkable 1965 novel offers a window on early 20th century higher education in addition to its rich characterizations and seamless prose. Sent by his hard-scrabble farmer father to the University of Missouri to study agriculture, William Stoner is sidetracked by an obsessive love of literature and stimulated by a curmudgeonly old professor, Archer Sloane. Sloane helps Stoner avoid service in WWI, and Stoner eventually becomes an assistant professor. He then meets and marries a St. Louis beauty, Edith, who quickly subjugates her contemplative, passive husband. As decades pass, Stoner entrenches himself deep into the life of the mind, developing into a master teacher but never finding solace in the outside world. Stoner's single joy is Grace, their daughter, whom Edith appropriates as a weapon in her very personal war against Stoner's quest for inner peace. Williams (1922–1994) won the NBA for Augustus (1973), and NYRB will republish his western, Butch's Crossing next year. Williams's prose flows in a smooth, efficient current that demands contemplation. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“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

“One of the great unheralded 20th-century American novels …Almost perfect.” —Bret Easton Ellis

Stoner is a novel of an ordinary life, an examination of a quiet tragedy, the work of a great but little-known writer.” —Ruth Rendell

“A beautiful and moving novel, as sweeping, intimate, and mysterious as life itself.” —Geoff Dyer

“I have read few novels as deep and as clear as Stoner. It deserves to be called a quiet classic of American literature.” —Chad Harbach

“The most beautiful book in the world.”  —Emma Straub

"A poignant campus novel from the mid-'60s—an unjustly neglected gem." —Nick Hornby, People

“The book begins boldly with a mention of Stoner’s death, and a nod to his profound averageness: ‘Few students remembered him with any sharpness after they had taken his courses.’ By the end, though, Williams has made Stoner’s disappointing life into such a deep and honest portrait, so unsoftened and unromanticized, that it’s quietly breathtaking.”—The Boston Globe
 
“Williams’ descriptions of the experience of reading both elucidate and evince the pleasures of literary language; the ‘minute, strange, and unexpected combinations of letters and words’ in which Stoner finds joy are re-enacted in Williams’ own perfect fusion of words.”—n+1
 
Stoner, by John Williams, is a slim novel, and not a particularly joyous one. But it is so quietly beautiful and moving, so precisely constructed, that you want to read it in one sitting and enjoy being in it, altered somehow, as if you have been allowed to wear an exquisitely tailored garment that you don’t want to take off.”—The Globe and Mail
 
 
“One of the great forgotten novels of the past century. I have bought at least 50 copies of it in the past few years, using it as a gift for friends...The book is so beautifully paced and cadenced that it deserves the status of classic.”—Colum McCann, Top 10 Novels, The Guardian
 
Stoner is undeniably a great book, but I can also understand why it isn’t a sentimental favorite in its native land. You could almost describe it as an anti-Gatsby...Part of Stoner’s greatness is that it sees life whole and as it is, without delusion yet without despair...The novel embodies the very virtues it exalts, the same virtues that probably relegate it, like its titular hero, to its perpetual place in the shade. But the book, like professor William Stoner, isn’t out to win popularity contests. It endures, illumined from within.”—Tim Kreider, The New Yorker
 
“It’s simply a novel about a guy who goes to college and becomes a teacher. But it’s one of the most fascinating things that you’ve ever come across.”—Tom Hanks, Time
 
Stoner is written in the most plainspoken of styles...Its hero is an obscure academic who endures a series of personal and professional agonies. Yet the novel is utterly riveting, and for one simple reason: because the author, John Williams, treats his characters with such tender and ruthless honesty that we cannot help but love them.”—Steve Almond, Tin House
 
“The best book I read in 2007 was Stoner by John Williams. It’s perhaps the best book I’ve read in years.”—Stephen Elliott, The Believer
 
“John Williams’s Stoner is something rarer than a great novel—it is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“Williams didn’t write much compared with some novelists, but everything he did was exceedingly fine...it’s a shame that he’s not more often read today...But it’s great that at least two of his novels [Stoner, Butcher’s Crossing] have found their way back into print.”—The Denver Post
 
“A masterly portrait of a truly virtuous and dedicated man.”—The New Yorker
 
“Why isn’t this book famous...Very few novels in English, or literary productions of any kind, have come anywhere near its level for human wisdom or as a work of art.”—C. P. Snow
 
“Serious, beautiful and affecting, what makes Stoner so impressive is the contained intensity the author and character share.”—Irving Howe, The New Republic
 
“A quiet but resonant achievement.”—The Times Literary Supplement
 
“Perhaps the greatest example of minimalism I’ve ever read...Stoner is a story of great hope for the writer who cares about her work.”—Stephen Elliott
 
Stoner by John Williams, contains what is no doubt my favorite literary romance of all time. William Stoner is well into his 40s, and mired in an unhappy marriage, when he meets Katherine, another shy professor of literature. The affair that ensues is described with a beauty so fierce that it takes my breath away each time I read it. The chapters devoted to this romance are both terribly sexy and profoundly wise.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“I’m not a big rereader, but I just reread Stoner by John Williams, and marveled once again at its remarkable combination of omniscience and intimacy.” — Jess Walter

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ NYRB Classics; 0 edition (June 20, 2006)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1590171993
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1590171998
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.66 x 7.99 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 4,598 ratings

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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
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