Stoner by John Williams

Stoner by John Williams: The reader of this 1965 novel by John Williams is presented with a mostly unhappy life of a man who became a university professor teaching English literature. He lives through two world wars, not serving in either one but seeing one of his best friend die in World War I. He watches students come and go at his university. He has a loveless marriage to a women who is emotionally quite limited. His only child, a daughter, lives in another city as an adult and becomes an alcoholic. He doesn’t have much of a relationship with her or his only grandson. Due to a conflict with the Chairman of his department, his is relatively isolated and has superficial relationships with his colleagues. Except for a brief joyful affair with a junior faculty member he appears to have very little pleasure in his life. If anything, this affair only makes him appreciate what he has missed in regards to meaningful relationships. He lives into his sixties. The author goes into great deal what he imagines his dying thoughts are like. This sections and in fact the entire book is very well written. I suppose the take away message that the author had in mind without overtly stating it, is that we only come around once and should try to experience life and relationships in as full and meaningful a way as we can. As a therapist, one cannot help but wonder if a person such as Stoner would not be so well defended psychologically, he might suffer a bit more but might be inclined to reach out for help in the form of some type of psychotherapy. This might lead to different choices and decisions with perhaps a more for filling life. You never know.

Category: FG - Fiction General | Tags: , , , , Comment »

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