“Stoner” by John Williams

John Edward Williams
You might want to have a look at the novel Stoner by John Williams.  It’s the real article.  It’s not really a well known work.  I found it somehow by clicking around on Amazon.  Someone had written an interesting review, and aroused my curiosity.  A lot of great literature is preserved that way.  Someone reads it, understands, and spreads the word.  Investigate a little and you’ll find that’s been happening with Stoner since it appeared in 1965.  A recent (2007) example is Morris Dickfield’s review in the New York Times.

What’s great about Stoner?  The same thing that’s great about any great novel.  It gives you an intimate glimpse into the mind of another human being, telling you what they experienced, and how they reacted to it.  In the process, you always recognize yourself; your own thoughts and feelings.

Works like this are written with a simple clarity that’s often missing from the works of philosophy and psychology with which they have much in common.  There’s nothing obscure about them, because the author is unconcerned about impressing you with how smart he is.  Rather, he has an intense desire to make you understand.  Stoner is not only clear, but beautiful.  Many passages in the book read like poetry. 

Look and spread the word.

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