Friday, June 21, 2013

Stoner by John Williams

A Dutch friend gave me the book “Stoner” by John Williams. It is a very sad book, yet at the same time wise and deep. The quest for love is a main theme throughout the book. Yet also trying and failing and then picking up the pieces or yourself and go on doing what you have to do. The main characters are all young before the first world war. To me that generation and the generation born between WWI and WWII is unfathomable. To them it seems normal to do what one must do. Life is as it is and you have to live it and accept what is handed to you. A simple life of a simple man. A quest for love, not just between parents and children, man and woman, but also a deep love for literature and teaching. You are thwarted in your endeavors, be it by meanness, jealousy, yet you do your duty, even if what you do is considered by yourself as rather mediocre. Although often the main character doesn’t do anything at all remaining passive in a stubborn way, accepting what is put in his way. The language in the Dutch translation by Edzard Krol is elegant yet not clamoring for attention. Acceptance and duty, not giving up are the painful virtues of the unlikely hero. Just living one’s live seems after closing the book to be true heroism. The book is much like an ostinato in music. Thank you for this wonderful present.

No comments:

Post a Comment