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"I was stunned by it... It’s beautifully written in simple but brilliant prose, a novel of an ordinary life, an examination of a quiet tragedy, the work of a great but little-known writer" (Ruth Rendell Guardian)
"A masterpiece of sad lucidity, as moving as it is psychologically compelling" (Peter Kemp Sunday Times)
"It is a remarkably affecting story, told in quiet, unshowy prose" (Stefan Collini Times Literary Supplement)
"In recent times I have owed more to word of mouth than to the statements of reviewers, when it comes to finding my way to rewarding work published or reissued... This is also true, or truer still, of Stoner" (Karl Miller Times Literary Supplement)
"My favourite book of the year...a masterpiece―beautifully written with a rare tenderness and wisdom that will make you want to read it again" (Jonathan Pugh Daily Mail)
"With prose of breathtaking clarity, and a narrative that flows along seamlessly, Williams subverts the American dream via an underachieving and rather unlucky university lecturer... Anyone who loves literature will surely love this" (Judy Moir Herald)
"The other book that cheered me up this year was Stoner by John Williams...re-emerging this year – rather triumphantly (and permanently this time, I think)" (Robin Robertson Glasgow Sunday Herald)
"A compassionate depiction of Everyman that celebrates the transformative power of literature" (Melonie Clarke The Lady)
"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)
"A terrific novel of echoing sadness" (Julian Barnes)
WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR 2013
'It's the most marvellous discovery for everyone who loves literature' Ian McEwan, BBC Radio 4
Colum McCann once called Stoner one of the great forgotten novels of the past century, but it seems it is forgotten no longer – in 2013 translations of Stoner began appearing on bestseller lists across Europe. Forty-eight years after its first, quiet publication in the US, Stoner is finally finding the wide and devoted readership it deserves. Have you read it yet?
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. A reading experience like no other, itself a paean to the power of literature, it is a novel to be savoured.
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