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  • Published: 5 December 2023
  • ISBN: 9781784879143
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $36.99


A Novel


A beautiful hardback edition of the iconic forgotten classic, the story of one man's ordinary, extraordinary life.

William Stoner enters the University of Missouri at nineteen to study agriculture. A seminar on English literature changes his life, and he never returns to work on his father's farm. Stoner becomes a teacher. He marries the wrong woman. His life is quiet, and after his death, his colleagues remember him rarely.

Yet with truthfulness, compassion and intense power, this novel uncovers a story of universal value - of the conflicts, defeats and victories of the human race that pass unrecorded by history - and in doing so reclaims the significance of an individual life.

'A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life' Ian McEwan

'A brilliant, beautiful, inexorably sad, wise and elegant novel' Nick Hornby

'A terrific novel of echoing sadness' Julian Barnes


  • Published: 5 December 2023
  • ISBN: 9781784879143
  • Imprint: Vintage Classics
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $36.99

About the author

John Williams

John Williams was an author, editor and professor. Born in 1922 in Texas, he served in the United States Army Air Force from 1942 to 1945 in China, Burma and India. His first novel, Nothing But the Night, was published in 1948. After receiving his PhD in 1954, Williams returned to the University of Denver where he first studied to teach literature and creative writing for thirty years. It was during this time that he wrote the novels Butcher's Crossing (1960) and Stoner (1965). His last novel, Augustus, won the National Book Award in 1973. John Williams died in Arkansas in 1994.

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Praise for Stoner

I was stunned by it... beautifully written in simple but brilliant prose, a novel of an ordinary life, an examination of a quiet tragedy, the work of a great but little-known writer

Ruth Rendell, Guardian

A beautiful, sad, utterly convincing account of an entire life… I’m amazed a novel this good escaped general attention for so long

Ian McEwan

A terrific novel of echoing sadness

Julian Barnes

A brilliant, beautiful, inexorably sad, wise, and elegant novel

Nick Hornby, The Believer

One of the great forgotten novels of the past century. I have bought at least 50 copies of it in the past few years, using it as a gift for friends. It is universally adored by writers and readers alike...so beautifully paced and cadenced that it deserves the status of classic

Colum McCann, Guardian

A beautiful and moving novel, as sweeping, intimate and mysterious as life itself

Geoff Dyer

One of the great unheralded 20th century American novels...Almost perfect

Bret Easton Ellis

It's simply a novel about a guy who goes to college and becomes a teacher. But its one of the most fascinating things that you've ever come across

Tom Hanks, Time

Something rarer than a great novel -- it is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away...few stories this sad could be so secretly triumphant, or so exhilarating.

New York Times

The most extraordinary work of fiction I've read in a long time... If you're looking for a book that's simple and subtle, warmly human and at the same time utterly pitiless in his rendition of the vicissitudes of an ordinary existence, here's one you will read again and again

New Statesman

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Stoner reading notes

Book club discussion notes for Stoner by John Williams.