‘Truly A Book To Capture It All’ – Review of Stoner by John Williams


He had wanted the singleness and the still connective passion of marriage; he had that, too, and he had not known what to do with it, and it had died. He wanted love; and he had had love, and had relinquished it, had let it go into the chaos of imagepotentiality.

Katherine, he thought. ‘Katherine.’

And he had wanted to become a teacher, and he had become one; yet he knew, he had always known, that for the most of his life he had been an indifferent one. He had dreamed of a kind of integrity, of a kind of purity that was entire; he had found compromise and the assaulting diversion of triviality. He had conceived wisdom, and at the end of the long years he had found ignorance.

Stoner by John Williams, page 285


Stoner, by John Williams, an usual book to start. But. Totally encapsulating. Containing so much feeling, meaning experience. I will give my review of the book, not really a formal review, but one looking and reflecting on the book, feeling and experience of reading it. I endeavour not to mention explicit spoilers, but I do mention my emotional experiences reading it and the emotions it passed onto me (the inspiration for my poem ‘Feelings Not My Own’)

Stoner, a book of an experience, an experience of fiction, but somewhat real. The feelings it portrays are totally real and totally thrust me into the story, caring, experiencing and feeling.

All of the poems that I wrote yesterday, took inspiration from the book, around the section of the above quote, I had to stop. To savour experiencing the end, the feeling, when I could concentrate and experience without distraction and reflect through this blogpost.

The feelings this book can capture and enstill on the reader, are immense, I would describe this book as an emotional rollercoaster. The feelings of love, happiness, existence and passion, but, at least for me, the book seems to emphasise negative feelings. But not ‘negative feelings’ in the conventional sense. I would describe these feelings as negative, but without feeling, a portrayal of the reality behind existence, the reality behind being, the existence of life, and one’s place within it. Here I shall endeavour to encapsulate my feelings and experiences in regards to the book in its totality:


The discovery and ecstacy of love, finding a crush, the feelings behind planning, the future and struggling and succeeding despite all adversity. The choices to be made in life, choices that make us, shape us, define us. The choices we make, the choices that aren’t owned by ourselves, until we make the decision. Then the choice becomes ours, becomes personal and meaningful. There is also the adversity of life not overcome, adversity in existence, the tiresome living, the hurting of family and friends, the loss of those we care for.

The watching as life rolls by, and we make what we can, leave our mark but inevitably fail to find conventional ‘happiness’, but, find a form of contentment out of the adversity, contentment with pain and dissatisfaction, not out of choice, but out of necessity to keep on living. The pain and somewhat helplessness in dealing with situations and people encountered in life.

The friendships made and kept and solidified through truth, adversity, hardship and mutual love and care. As life goes on, never enough time, never enough done, never enough success to make one feel full and content, nevertheless contentment and perseverence and change to overcome all adversity.

It is totally encapsulating a feeling I cannot express with words; a feeling of contentment out of unrelenting discontentment, of existing without achievement, but continuing to persevere for your aims and continue to keep journeying to achieve them, even if you never actually achieve them, you make the journey anyway and contently, live out your life with the aim in mind, the objective aimed for.

The book’s ending (from around page 285 until the end), I will try not to spoil (as much as I can while expressing my more affective ‘review’). One that encapsulates the book, the ending, a fitting end, one that captures and summarises the whole book, not in a repetitive manner, but one suitable to, in my opinion, its aimed portrayal, of life, without highlight of the good times, without hiding the bad times, but merely portraying human experience, in a way that truly resonated with me. The portrayal of sadness, closing, finality and happiness, dissatisfaction, reminiscing and also summarising and deep-contemplation. The very last page. Written to perfection. Even thinking of it, causes my eyes to well-up. A perfect, concise, summarised end. Like the finalities found in everyday living, without show, or celebration, without positivity or negativity, just sweet, maybe reluctant, but nevertheless final, end. Drifting off into silence. As the words on the page end with the final period… and then… silence.


A powerful story, I know that I paint a bleak picture of the novel, but, it is more than this. It’s more than the sum of its parts (not to mention the subjective experience of the reader that needs not be said). It is a book, not everyone will like, it’s writing is definitely unconventional, but I find this is its beauty, it captures reality, as nothing else does. Captures reality, much like my poetry does for me, and also the poetry I read from many others on WordPress. Capturing reality, for what it is. The highs of the good experience, the lows of the bad. The real life existence. The one we share, both content, and also discontent.

Although I say it’s a novel that not everyone will ‘like’, I would say that I think everyone should give it a read. I would unapologetically be happy to suggest this  novel to anyone I know, especially anyone I feel comfortable to talk to about personal and emotional matters.

To personally summarise this novel and my experience reading it in very few words:

A book that captures reality. For what it is.

 

 

I would like to write a note, to my very close friend who gifted this novel to me, inspirsation for ‘Little Gift From the Heart‘, thank you so very much for this book. I sure hope that you do not see this review, and if you do… that you do not think it too harsh, or feel the book’s been a saddening experience. It has been a realistic experience, a vicarious living and experiencing of a life, not my own. Yet also I see past experiences, events, ways of thinking also appear throughout this book, almost every couple of pages. This book was a mixed experience to read, but an invaluable one, and one I am a better person for reading. Thank you, thank you very much Ruby.

That Worst Night

That worst night. My closest friend betrayed me, left me for dead. And I did. Am dead inside, empty.

She could laugh over my corpse for all I care. What’s worse is that I’m alive. Breathing but every breath is too much. I have no will, no willingness. I was betrayed.

I hurt others, they left me to die. I did. I am. I am now alone, with no direction. I thought I was making process then they pulled the knife on me. Plunged it into my heart and soul.

Left me alone, a single piece. Totally alone. When I need my closest friends and they do this? They killed me. I live alone, in emptiness. They racked and wrecked my body and soul. Ripped apart all that could be found.

Wrecked me apart. Threw me down. Left me with nothing, but a physical existence of pain and emptiness.

They left me.

Alone to walk in the dark.

Broken, alone and afraid. A time that cannot be fixed. Nothing to do.

I have repressed it and cannot get it back. My closest friend, why did you do this? Rip everything from me? Give me an existence I don’t want, an existence not worth living. A pain everlasting. A death not final. A prolonged pain, excruciating agony.

Where the knife and my blood is all I see, my only friend. The only one who can comfort me as the blood drips down my heart and it’s perfect red glow.

The one I long for.

The vibrant red.

Clouds my face and my eyes.

Left alone and in pain.

Seeing a death of a friend, while I still live. In agony. Missing what once was, the friendship once there. The friend who I thought there.

The one who killed and betrayed me.

The blood on my hands, red, running down and never enough.

Sadness eternal as all is lost before my eyes. I was left alone to the pain.

The pain of prometheus, to be in eternal pain. To have my guts pecked out every day in agony and screaming. Only to be healed in pain every night, for it to start once again in the morning. That was that night. My worst night.

Waking up in pain as before, what’s worse is that it carries on. The betrayal. I cannot trust, not anymore. Don’t know how to do anything when everything is too much effort. All my plans dashed before my eyes. All made meaningless. Wishing for a death I cannot bring. Looking for a way, any way out.

As I have been betrayed by those closest to me, with no one left. All the care dried up. They killed me. Left me empty. Thrown my corpse off of a cliff to an endless falling onto the jagged rocks below.

I can’t find a fix. What happened happened. What’s worse is that I survived it. But not really. I have survived none of it. I am existing an existence not worth living. In pain, alone. Killed by the very people who I thought cared.

Do you not know what you did? Have done?

Do you not see how you killed me?

Worse than death, is living, while dead.

Taken from me by those dearest, those whom I thought I could trust, those who I thought cared. And kind of still do, but then I need to remind myself of the scene. Of them plunging the knife into my neck. Opening me up. Leaving me there alone, empty, bleeding, wishing for the end. On that long lonely path.

I have lost those dear to me, but worse is that I found out they were not. They lied. They betrayed me. Plunged the knife into my skin. As I smiled and cried. Tried to ignore the happy looks of my killer. Unintentional, but still the actuality. As I was left to walk alone down the lonely road, limping my pain, alone, broken and alone, wrecked and alone. With no one to talk to, as my closest friends were the culprit, the cause. Even if they do not mean to be.

I’ve stopped living, am merely existing. After the worst night of my life.

All taken from me,

My closest friends,

Left alone,

Can’t be bothered for any future.

Only wishing for death.

I will plan, find the easiest solution I can. To fix what should have been before this happened, before this lowest of the lows. That has occurred. Made easier by having no one to talk to. Totally alone. How easier to find the end, when there is no one to talk to.

Just the rational planning, the calculating. My pledge.

I have lost all who I held so dearly. Before my very eyes.

There is nothing left.

Nothing left but the plan.

The end.

The thinking.

The solitude.

The eternal loneliness.

The realisation I am alone as my friends plunged the knife.

The realisation I have no escape from this promethean punishment.

This pain.

My end.
To everyone who reads this, please don’t comment. I need this post. Need space from it. Please don’t comment on this post. If anyone reads it.

Betrayed At Every Turn

All my closest friends,

A betrayal, a knife straight to my heart.

Killing me inside in every way.

Left alone and wishing it.

To be left alone and avoid betrayal,

To avoid the hurt pain and suffering.

The knife to the throat at best, the tortured existence and the thrown aside.

Killing me from the inside.

A trusting and kind friend.

All broken the thrown from my heart.

Wishing for death.

Wishing for an end.

Wishing to be spared, of having all dear ripped apart before my eyes.

To be thrown open and chucked to oblivion,

Worse to see the pain caused.

The corrupting plan.

The pained existence of all once hopes for.

All gone in a flash before my eyes. To be roped from the neck, and strung up by those held dear.

To watch the drop and hope for death.

To hope for the end. To have all ripped apart before your eyes.
The plans, hopes and friendships, turned to dust.

Turned to nought and ruin before your being.

Ripped apart.

Wishing the same for yourself.

To be ripped apart, corrupted.

All plans fading into the dust.

All taken away before your very eyes.

The hopes all dashed and destroyed.

The ripping into my flesh,

My bodily prison,

My soul and heart. From those whom I thought cared.

Left with nothing.

An emptiness, waiting, and hoping.

For death. For an end.

Those Times

Those times, at those moments you don’t notice,

Those times gone by,

Those moments gone past,

I understand as typing,

Those times,

Those changes,

Never change from the reality that is,

That may be.

That can be.

Always on the edge,

Always skirting around the problem.

The problem with me.

The me as being.

The changes as I am seeing.

Please don’t.

Why being.

Don’t say.

The uncertainty.

The craziness of the darkness that may be.

That may linger.

Even once the memories may fade.

Even as I may notice.

Don’t worry, don’t fret.

What may be what may be.

Don’t worry. Lovely of what may be.

Lonely Figure By the Pond-Side

That lonely figure by the pond-side.

Drooped over, embracing this solitude they find themself in. Holding a hand up to the sky.

Wondering if anyone will pass by,

Wondering where their life has gone,

The warmth evaporated.

Tears run down their cheek,

Flowing into the collection of water around them.

Watching people walk past and fade,

They remain,

They remain unmistakably alone, with no one.

No once can hear their cries,

No one wants to.

No one pays them attention,

They don’t deserve it.

Left alone wondering by the lakeside,

The reflection, a mirage, beckoning them further in.

Showing a reflection; the tired eyes, deep wrinkles, sad demeanour, empty mind and sad soul.

The figure kneels, absorbing the loneliness,

Wanting an end to the emptiness.

Looking around and longing,

For a friend to site beside them.

Waiting for home to find them.

Then comes the realisation:

They are alone, are unwanted and a burden to all who had once cared.

They are in a turbulent and reluctant peace.

Leaving all whom they cares about alone.

Because they are alone, are unwanted and a burden to all who had once cared.

They are then left, a mere sad and lonely figure, sitting by the pond side.

Worried at the Crossroad

Been worrying all day today, all day yesterday when not hanging out with my closest friend.
I’m stepping to the crossroads, total uncertainty and now a lot of time to comprehend the step into darkness. With nothing for certain and feeling alone. Totally alone. No matter what friends or family say to me.

Alcohol is a distraction, not a good one, I still see my procrastination, but feel paralysed by uncertainty, loneliness and fear. I focus on doing small tasks like washing just to feel calm or sane. Can’t wait to get back to work, to distract myself. I can’t do both.

My laptop not working is also stressing me out as I can’t get to job searching or applications and feel paralysed by mood and actuality alike.

Always panicking, not able to cope, always looking for distraction. I knew I would hate this degree. For giving me uncertainty and time to worry about that uncertainty. Something I couldn’t afford to before my last assessment.

Now I’m left drifting alone, in the sea of uncertainty. Fearful, alone and afraid.

Stoner by John Williams. What it meant to me. #1

Been given Stoner by a very close friend, it is one of her favourite books. I treasure the thought. This is the present was behind my poem Little Gift From The Heart.


Read only the first part but it is a very intense book. It’s very thought provoking and I’m only a bit of the way through it. Another poem I wrote about it is called Realisation.


14 pages in:

The book so far speaks to me. About reality and strife, the meaning to be found in a meaningless reality. Is the meaning an illusion? Within a meaningless reality. Why suffer the toil and strife for an endless round of meaningless existing. The work done in the book being more difficult and strife than my own, but then that extends the meaning of the story. Only like 14 pages in when writing this.