Stoner by John Edward Williams
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I am not sure what to say about this book. The bleakness of the story and the lives of all the characters in it, whether minor or central to the story, utterly hypnotized me, but I'm not sure why.
Beautifully written. It is a thoughtful, painful witness to one man's struggle to get comfortable in the world, in life, in his own skin. He's a scholar, a loner, eccentric and awkward and mystified by the things that 'regular' people find easy. I never could understand how he always accepted misfortune and misery so seamlessly. He's a little bit like Bartleby the Scrivener and a little bit like Mr. Rogers but not as cheery.
It is touching to watch how honorably he acts at all times. The whole book is strangely quieting in that the reader knows that he is witnessing something very, very rare and he wants to know more about this unusual guy. Yet, I could not give it more than a 3 because the take-aways are so vague and in every nook and cranny of the tale there is just so much sadness.
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