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Almost fifty years after its initial publication in the United States, fresh European translations of John Williams' campus novel Stoner began to rekindle interest in both book and writer.
Spearheaded most particularly by Julian Barnes
' article for The Guardian
on unearthing what Barnes referred to as "a true 'reader's novel', in the sense that its narrative reinforces the very value of reading and study. Many will be reminded of their own lectoral epiphanies, of those moments when the magic of literature first made some kind of distant sense, first suggested that this might be the best way of understanding life"
William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death his colleagues remember him rarely. Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value. Stoner tells of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history, and reclaims the significance of an individual life.
Our favourite quote: '"Lust and learning,” Katherine once said. “That’s really all there is, isn’t it?"'
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