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Extended Audio Sample Stoner, by John Williams Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (3,645 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Williams Narrator: Robin Field Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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William Stoner is born at the end of the nineteenth century into a dirt-poor Missouri farming family. Sent to the state university to study agronomy, he instead falls in love with English literature and embraces a scholar’s life, far different from the hardscrabble existence he has known. And yet as the years pass, Stoner encounters a succession of disappointments: marriage into a “proper” family estranges him from his parents; his career is stymied; his wife and daughter turn coldly away from him; a transforming experience of new love ends under threat of scandal. Driven ever deeper within himself, Stoner rediscovers the stoic silence of his forebears and confronts an essential solitude.

John Williams’ luminous and deeply moving novel is a work of quiet perfection. William Stoner emerges from it not only as an archetypal American, but as an unlikely existential hero, standing, like a figure in a painting by Edward Hopper, in stark relief against an unforgiving world.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Very few novels in English, or literary productions of any kind, have come anywhere near its level for human wisdom or as a work of art.”

    C. P. Snow, New York Times bestselling author

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

    Tom Hanks, Academy Award-winning actor, on Stoner, one of his top five favorite books

  • “A masterly portrait of a truly virtuous and dedicated man.”

    New Yorker

  • “A perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “An exquisite study, bleak as Hopper, of a hopelessly honest academic at a meretricious Midwestern university. I had not known…that the kind of unsparing portrait of failed marriage shown in Stoner existed before John Cheever.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Serious, beautiful and affecting, what makes Stoner so impressive is the contained intensity the author and character share.”

    New Republic

  • “It’s beautifully written in simple but brilliant prose, a novel of an ordinary life, an examination of a quiet tragedy.”

    Ruth Rendell, Edgar Award-winning author on Stoner as her choice for book of the year

  • Stoner is written in the most plainspoken of styles…Its hero is an obscure academic who endures a series of personal and professional agonies. Yet the novel is utterly riveting, and for one simple reason: because the author, John Williams, treats his characters with such tender and ruthless honesty that we cannot help but love them.”

    Steve Almond, author of (Not That You Asked)

  • “Robin Field fully inhabits Stoner’s character, dragging every morsel of tragedy, inevitability and, occasionally, wiliness and joy from Williams’ understated writing. Field’s performance helps us understand that an ordinary person’s life is still grand, emotional, and worthy. Originally published in 1965 and recently reissued, Stoner is a small miracle of a novel that is enhanced by a narrator who is a perfect match. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”


  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Bobbie | 2/16/2014

    " A quiet book, wonderfully written, that keeps you intrigued as you travel through the life of William Stoner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Dpwarzyn | 2/15/2014

    " Brilliant, quiet, masterpiece. There are books one reads where one learns so much, confirms things one thought might be true. People from California should read this book so they understand people from the Midwest. There is poetry here, some of it happy, some of it sad, all of it true. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Betsy Sneath | 1/30/2014

    " I liked this alot. And yes, it was depressing, but the story could take place now, and still be believable. I had never heard of this author or book, and am so glad I read it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Brendan | 1/23/2014

    " The author forces you to watch his protagonist die from the first page and does it with such cold-blooded acumen that you might only hope you're boiled to death or shot so as to save yourself the trenchant horror of natural passing. There is no way a rational being could leave this work outside the canon of genius novels. I would not recommend this book to anyone I really cared about. "

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