Recent readers to this site know that I’ve been evangelizing for John Williams since I read his novel Stoner.
This year I’m planning to read his novel Butcher’s Crossing (which I’ve been told is even better than Stoner, though I hardly believe that’s possible), and now I see that Revolutionary Road director Sam Mendes is adapting it for film. Say what you will about Revolutionary Road (I thought it worked fairly well as a film, though it approached the material with with too much of a now-we-know-better smugness), this can only be a . . . continue reading, and add your comments
I've been on a bit of a Stoner crusade since I read this book back in October. It really is that good, and given that it was out of print for a good 30 years until NYRB published their edition in 2006, I figured it must be fairly overlooked.
Well, looks like it may not be quite as overlooked . . . continue reading, and add your comments
For a long time now I’ve meant to read the mid-century American novel Stoner by John Williams. NYRB Classics publishes two of Williams’ books (Stoner and the National Book Award winner Butcher’s Crossing), and Scott Bryan Wilson, a very trusted fellow reader, has long recommended the book.
I finally got around to Stoner while in Canada, and it was an absolute pleasure. Simply put, the book is about nothing more and nothing less than a human life. You can get a sense of the novel’s aims in its very first paragraph, which reads:
. . . continue reading, and add your comments
Given that my literary tastes run towards big, ambitious, hyperactive novels, it wouldn’t seem that Butcher's Crossing and Stoner, the second and third novels (of four) from John Williams, would both be in my all-time favorite list (top twenty-five*): both are written in a hardworking, "plain" style–beautifully written in that style, if that makes any sense–and tell quiet, introspective stories of loners. Butcher’s Crossing must have been one of the first literary or "revisionist" westerns (Oakley Hall’s Warlock came out in 1958), one that operated without all the cliches and predictability . . . continue reading, and add your comments