Episode 9: John Williams’s Stoner

StonerNYRB Classics published their edition of Stoner in June of 2006, and it is the book we’ll be talking about in Episode 9 of The Mookse and the Gripes Podcast.

In 1965, John Williams published Stoner, a novel about a professor of English named William Stoner, a relatively nondescript person whom no one will remember much after his death. The novel did not do well, selling only 2,000 copies when it was first published. However, periodically since its publication someone has come forward declaring it a masterpiece. But those sentiments also seemed to go away without anyone paying any particular attention. That’s all changed recently. This past year, according to Publishers Weekly, Stoner has sold over 50,000 copies and become a world-wide best seller.

In Episode 10 we will be doing a Halloween special with Jeremias Gotthelf’s The Black Spider.

8 thoughts on “Episode 9: John Williams’s Stoner

  1. Hi Trevor – I really enjoyed this podcast. Thank you to you and Brian! “Stoner” sounds like it’s worth a very good look. But the contemporary reader (me) easily mistakes the title – turns out it has nothing to do with drugs!

  2. Yes, Betsy, in this case the book cover really helps! I’d love your take, particularly on any misogyny.

    Guy, I put Great Granny Webster up as a potential off-season Booker read on my forum, but it lost out to Muriel Spark’s The Public Image. I plan on getting to Great Granny Webster sometime, but let me know how you like it.

  3. I did two blog entries on Stoner – this one http://clothesinbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/stoner-by-john-williams.html links to the other one – and absolutely loved it, but said about Stoner’s wife: ‘In fact, one might venture (hesitantly) that Edith is not a convincing character because she is so dreadful, as seen through Stoner’s eyes: there is surely room here for a Wide Sargasso Sea (Jean Rhys’s version of the first Mrs Rochester from Jane Eyre) – the marriage seen from Edith’s point of view could make equally riveting reading.’

  4. Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’d love to get some more thoughts to share in our next podcast (giving you credit, of course). Moira, do you mind if I share your thoughts on Edith? If so, let me know by email and let me know how you’d like me to introduce you: Moira from ____, who blogs at clothesinbooks . . . etc. That goes for anyone interested.

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