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Anyone read Stoner..?

(29 Posts)
Scarletohello Mon 30-Dec-13 01:29:49

Well this book, which is 48 years old has has some fantastic reviews on Amazon lately. Seems quite a drab subject matter but I was wondering if anyone here has read it and what were their thoughts.


FuckyNell Mon 30-Dec-13 01:31:23

No but watching to see responses. Have been fancying it myself!

maillotjaune Mon 30-Dec-13 22:54:09

It is a lovely book. The subject matter may not sound exciting (although coming to it as a book group read with no knowledge other than the title I was expecting 60s drug taking smile ) but it's so beautifully written it doesn't need gimmicks.

I read Augustus by John Williams after which I liked even more, and will read his other novel even though the subject matter doesn't grab me just because of his writing.

OneHolyCow Tue 31-Dec-13 12:53:26

Yes I read it. It is well written and all but the character is ..ahm... not very nice..? I found some things hard to swallow, it is very bleak, and the writer really lost me with some parts that were beyond credible or tolerable. Don't want to do spoilers but it was hard going.
Find the term lovely in this context genuinely weird.

maillotjaune Tue 31-Dec-13 20:27:10

Really? I didn't think Stoner himself was 'not nice' at all. Infuriatingly a product if his time, place and upbringing, yes.

I was reminded of relatives of mine who were unable to make the most of their abilities because they were needed at home or didn't realise they could take other opportunities, or who had little in the way of opportunity because of who they were.

Similarly his wife was awful, but for reasons to do with her life before she met him.

I don't think the story is far fetched at all but I can imagine there are plenty of people who have never experienced anything like it, living as we do in more enlightened times (kind of).

And I thought the writing was indeed lovely.

JethroTull Tue 31-Dec-13 20:31:38

I'm reading it at the moment. I like the style of writing. It's slow. But not in a bad way. It's the sort of book that will stay with you for a long time after you've finished it.

LCHammer Wed 01-Jan-14 08:52:37

I found the characters - all of them! - infuriating. The writing got good towards the end.

ebe Thu 02-Jan-14 18:46:55

I have read this recently and thought it was a very good book. It is beautifully written and very sad.

BeeBawBabbity Fri 03-Jan-14 20:38:27

I was given this by my FIL, who loved it. He's a retired lecturer and he identified with Stoner. I did enjoy it, I liked the writing style and sense of place. But his female characters were not well depicted at all, and that really ruins a book for me.

On the whole I would say its worth reading though. It's an easy read.

Corygal Fri 03-Jan-14 20:44:23

I liked it but I felt more sorry for Stoner's wife, GF and DD than I did for him. And I'm not sure that was the point.

maillotjaune Fri 03-Jan-14 21:09:03

I think the thing about the female characters is that you see them through Stoner's eyes, and he doesn't relate to them well. Usually I also struggle to enjoy books where female characters are not well drawn but this is more about Stoner than the women. I felt sorry for wife, daughter and girlfriend and still liked him.

It has been a few months since I read it, but iirc there is only one small part of the book which is seen from the wife's point of view. Everything else is how Stoner perceives events.

BeeBawBabbity Fri 03-Jan-14 23:50:32

Its true malliot, I did still like him. I guess that shows the author's skill.

Thewhingingdefective Mon 06-Jan-14 19:22:58

It's my book group's choice for this month, so I'll feedback soon.

SinisterSal Mon 06-Jan-14 20:28:39

How come it's all over the place now if it's nearly 50 years old?

maillotjaune Tue 07-Jan-14 10:48:27

I'm not sure, but I read through a book club where someone suggested it having read an article by an author she liked (could it have been Julian Barnes or Ian Mcthingy?) raving about it.

Clawdy Tue 14-Jan-14 14:30:27

Just finished it. The writing was sombre and beautiful, and it's indeed a neglected gem,but I found it depressing,I have to say. I became impatient with Stoner and was desperate for him to assert himself,particularly where his daughter's happiness was involved. That was an upsetting story-line.

Willabywallaby Mon 20-Jan-14 21:10:53

I found it very depressing. Book club meeting Wednesday to discuss.

Willabywallaby Fri 24-Jan-14 17:50:50

Well, everyone bar me and a friend who couldn't make it loved Stoner...

mumofthemonsters808 Sun 16-Feb-14 10:51:26

I've just finished this today and I enjoyed it.

BaconAndAvocado Sun 16-Feb-14 21:54:44

I tried to read it but found the content a bit too sombre and slow for my current taste in books.

It is beautifully written though so I may return to it one day.

TamerB Sun 16-Feb-14 21:56:47

I am glad that some enjoyed it because it is on the list for my book group.

Thewhingingdefective Wed 19-Feb-14 23:08:58

I loved it, as did all my reading group. We argued about whether Stoner was a strong man or a weak man. In the end we agreed his strength was in his love of literature and academia and his weakness was in social and personal relationships.

I definitely want to read more John Williams.

PanicMode Thu 27-Feb-14 19:32:21

I read it and absolutely loved it - and so suggested it for my book group this month - we are meeting to talk about it on Sunday. I am eagerly anticipating the discussion and to find out what the others thought about it.

I found his writing so compelling, and the characters a product of their era - their fates are 'sad' in the context of a modern readership I suppose, but at the time I guess they were prisoners of a time with different mores.

I have Augustus on my list to read next even though it's not a subject matter that I'm particularly interested in - but I love John Williams' writing.

maillotjaune Thu 27-Feb-14 23:03:06

Panic I am a little jealous of you - I would like to be about to read Augustus for the first time again. I think I may have already said this, on this thread blush but I loved it. It is so different from Stoner, and so far removed from the author's life too, but such beautiful writing again.

PanicMode Fri 28-Feb-14 06:29:18

Oh that is good to hear - I am looking forward to it. I just love his writing; he'd probably make reading about paint drying sound wonderful!

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