Bittersweet

snoopy-freelance-writerMy book club recently read Stoner by John Williams.  It garnered quite the divided views.  Some, including me, thinking it was a beautifully written depiction of a disappointing, sad life.  Others finding the main character too passive, his life too pointless (mainly due to a lack of depth in his relationships) to bother writing about.  But that’s not what I want to blog about.  What I want to blog about is the fact that the novel was written in 1965, fell out of print a year later, and is now a bestseller.  It was named Waterstones’ 2013 Book of the Year, no less.  How did this happen?  As far as I can tell, it’s because a relatively well-known French novelist (Anna Galvalda) decided to translate it and sales in France took off.  This led the English to pay attention and the likes of Ian MacEwen and Nick Hornby professed to have always loved it.  Then, sigh, Tom Hanks piped up and the New York Times re-reviewed it (48 years after the original review).  Now Williams’ wife is sitting pretty on the royalties because poor Williams himself died in 1994, which for my taste suits the spirit of the novel a little too well.

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