William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to a university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar's life. As the years pass, Stoner encounters a series of disappointments: marriage into a ''proper'' family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude. John Williams's deeply moving novel is a work of quiet perfection. Powerfully and movingly written, Stoner is a study of a dedicated man relentlessly committed to honesty in himself and in his dealings with others. The truth of one man's unassuming life can rarely have been captured with such skill and beauty. William Stoner emerges not only as an archetypal American but as an unlikely existential hero, standing in stark relief against an unforgiving world.
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JOHN WILLIAMS (1922-1994), poet and novelist, was born in Texas and received his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri. In 1955 he became the director of the University of Denver's creative writing program where he edited the University of Denver Quarterly. He remained at Denver until his retirement in 1986. He was a co-winner of the 1973 National Book Award for Fiction for the novel Augustus.From AudioFile:
STONER opens with the declaration that at the time of William Stoner's death, he had never advanced beyond the rank of assistant professor of English literature and was held in no particular esteem by his colleagues. Few students could even remember him when his name was mentioned. Then John Williams recounts the story of Stoner's life from the age of 19 to his death, and we find that his life was not ordinary at all. Robin Field fully inhabits Stoner's character, dragging every morsel of tragedy, inevitability and, occasionally, wiliness and joy from Williams's understated writing. Field's performance helps us understand that an ordinary person's life is still grand, emotional, and worthy. Originally published in 1965 and recently reissued, STONER is a small miracle of a novel that is enhanced by a narrator who is a perfect match. A.B. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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