John Williams wrote a masterpiece when he created Stoner

StonerStoner by John Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been wondering for a while why this book is so good. On the surface it appears to break the rules for writing compelling fiction: it tells much more than it shows, is not about a particularly (apparently) interesting character with an interesting career. Stoner, though undoubtedly an intellectual man, university professor, due to his limited EQ, and naivete, ends up not achieving anything spectacular. Yet, the narrative is rivetting. I found myself rooting for Stoner, getting angry and frustrated on his behalf, since he fails to do so for himself. Where he lets life wash over him, regardless, I the reader, felt angry, empassioned, frustrated and quite militant on his behalf.

Therein lies its strength, I think. Its ability to put the reader in a position of having to feel, having to be moved and enraged, because the protagonist does not.


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