Stoner: A revelation

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It’s a few weeks since I read Stoner by John Williams and I still think about it. I remember picking up a copy of the book in my local Rise a few years ago and thinking that it looked a bit hipster-ish and, well, boring. A book about a fictional forgotten academic? Nah, there are plenty of other books that I’ve already bought and still haven’t read…But recently I read an interview with Julian Barnes in which he mentioned Stoner, and his endorsement, possibly coupled with the fact that I work at a university and occasionally fantasise that I am a scholar, propelled me into the local library. A few pages in, I started to imagine Stoner as being Adam Driver in the film Paterson – a sensitive, weary, kind poetic soul. I still think about the inane cruelty of his wife and the frustration that he spent so little time with the woman he did love. And the image of him literally clinging to his work while the world indifferently carries on… Apparently Williams thought it was a happy book, but I’m not convinced. He does, however, make sadness seem unbearably beautiful.



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