Tuesday, June 4, 2013
I finished reading "Stoner", the novel written by John Williams. It is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a campus novel and a story of love and friendship. Parts of it are also an anti-war manifesto, since the story takes place against the background of the two world wars. It is the story of a university professor of rural origin who discovers his love for the literature and teaching and devotes his life to them, and to love and friendship, of course. There is nothing special to this story, it could be the life of any one else. But it is no nicely written that it is almost impossible not to be moved and identified with its main character. Objectively, Stoner is not happy, most things in his life are not "successful." But his love of life and knowledge (is there a difference?) are deeper than conventional measures of success. The university parts of the novel are amazingly contemporary: the attempts to punish unfriendly professors with unpleasant teaching schedules, the commitment and empathy to students... If you read this novel and you don't like it, perhaps there is something that goes too well in your life.