John William’s book Stoner barely sold when it came out in 1965. Now, it is one of the great American novels of 20th Century. It’s the story of William Stoner, as you may have heard of, a boy born in the end of nineteenth century in a farming family. From his childhood days he learns the value of work. The novel goes through the protagonist’s life chronologically as he gets older. He enters the university as a freshman, becomes a professor, a disappointing marriage, father to a daughter, recognises love and lust, and his love for literature. It is indeed a tale of a simple life that John Williams describe through his words and characters and he has done that with some perfection.
From the start, the fluency of words, the narration is enough to grab any reader’s attention. It grabbed mine and I could not put down the book until I was on the last page reading the last line, and the last word. The novel is not huge neither will it tire your eyes. It is an interesting piece of literature which is display an ordinary tale of an English Professor that is observed and decrypted in front of a reader. William Stoner appears as a typical academic but he is more than that. He is a human breathing air just like you and me. He is in endurance like everyone else.
William Stoner has spirit for love and learning. In a sense, he failed in both. His marriage was disappointment to him as well to his wife and the result can be seen in their daughter. He never rose above the rank of an assistant professor and did not dwell into a fame among his colleagues. At this point I think, through out his life he silently suffered and this suffering had taught him not to indulge into the desirable musings. This suffering gave him strength to bear the unforgiving nature of the world.
John Williams’ writing is engaging, his plot works well and his characters seem realistic to me. The existence of the protagonist is registered in the mind of a reader by the author in such a way that I doubt William Stoner would leave anyone’s conscience for some amount of time. Through his writing, Williams displays his passion for the language itself. The references of the First World War, the Wall Street Crash and then the Second World war also helps in portraying the life of William Stoner in fine detail. It ends in anonymity just like every other life. This novel is handsomely written, its clear from the start of what it wants to convey in a profound manner and I am grateful I came across it. It is a story of a man’s life. Every reader would love to interpret this novel in their words.