Steve Almond and William Stoner

July 17, 2019 @ 10:13 am | Filed under:

I loved Stoner—fell for it hard, its quietness, its contemplativeness, its soft pain, its frank assessment of human foibles and fineness. John Williams’s writing stole my breath: I hadn’t been walloped that hard by anyone’s prose since my first encounter with Muriel Spark. Spark’s work always strikes me as having been written with a razor blade. The image I get when I think about Williams’s language is of footsteps on a thin layer of ice—the way the softest step causes the ice to splinter into shards all around.

I read an ARC of Steve Almond’s book William Stoner and the Battle for the Inner Life eagerly, both for the delight of conversation about a treasured book (even if my part was only in my head) and for the glimpse of Steve’s experiences in the same MFA program I graduated from just a year or two before he entered. Reading this interview, I was swept with a wave of longing to reread both books immediately. Happily, I have a long day of travel ahead of me tomorrow and now I know how I’ll spend it.

Almond: “The entire point of Stoner is that every human life is full of remarkable drama, because every human being comes equipped with an inner life, a set of yearnings and fears and confusions that are concealed from the world and yet persistently, unavoidably, experienced. It is the mission of all art, but literary art in particular, to engage with this inner life.”


    Related Posts

  • "Snuggling Up to Genius"
    “Snuggling Up to Genius”
  • Book Quotes We Use a Lot
    Book Quotes We Use a Lot
  • Snippets
    Snippets
  • Our Week in Books: Thursday
    Our Week in Books: Thursday
  • Before the Internet
    Before the Internet

Comments

One Reponse | Comments Feed
  1. Avatar

    Karen Edmisten says:

    Oh, I must read Stoner. I’ve never read it, but it’s been in my TBR pile since Tom read it quite awhile back and urged it on me, but I just haven’t gotten to it yet. Thanks for the encouragement to move it up to the top of the pile. I’ll have to tell Tom about the Almond book, too.