‘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.

Pit Of Despair

Left in my pit of despair,

My home away from home.

The place I can call my own.

The prison of my mind.

The rushed desperation.

The hurt and hatred.

Irrational feelings and pain.

The rage and hurt.

This pit I find myself.

The rage and my despair,

The rushing pain.

Throwing me from comfort.

Down into pain and hurt.

Left alone, choking, in my pit of despair. 

My Affliction.

Memory of what should be let go.

Hearing that mustn’t be heard.

Senses heightened, for what shouldn’t be known.

To let myself live, in the present. At all.

The affliction of knowing, when one should ignore.

Caring too much as I need to break out.

Break my chains, my mind and spirit.

Break apart all that is held together.

Broken and shattered through my affliction.

Left Alone

Left alone,

That’s how it goes,

First to start,

Last to stop.

Left alone and predicted this,

That’s the way it goes.

The inevitable end.

The continuous path,

Expected and to be expected.

Left down, like a person with nothing left.

And loving it.

The rage and realisation.

The life and the longing.

The buildup and expectations.

The waiting and expectation.

Going on alone, as I know I must go.

The ongoing movement through time.

This onward treading.

The way it goes, and the way it must.

Ready for the shit that comes, as it always will.

No me gusta.

But that is life, the one I live.

The one I’ve been given.

The one I have and have to make.

The way I live, the way I go.

The good turning chaotic,

The way going blank.

The path turning off.

The way fading to black.

Living in the darkness and making it my own.

Owning the life that I lead.

Holding on tight to the war inside my mind.

Facing my firing squad.

Smiling in the face of it all,

In the face of the darkness and the pain.

Spitting in the face of death and darkness.

Making it mine,

Commanding it to my will and presence.

My will, it will become mine.

The path I must take,

Alone and smile.

The lonely road I walk.

To spit in the face of it all.

To face my fate,

To face my demons.

Spit in the face of it all.

The sinner of the world,

Of the darkness and the pain.

The path I walk.

The way I move.

The way I drift back and forth,

Drift off into the darkness,

Into my life eternal,

The eternal pain, ongoing and suffering.

To walk on and out,

Off into darkness.

On and off I go,

Moving on into the night.

Into the life that awaits.

This darkness I delve into,

Fight,

Rage,

Win.

Taking the pain,

Making it my own,

Making it mine.

Holding on in and through the rage.

Loving it with life as my witness.

Cutting the chord.

Stringing myself up in this life.

Loving ever second.

This rage and love,

Happiness and courage.

Weakness and strength.

Left alone, waking to my destination. The noose of the depths of the ocean.

And on I continue, left alone to my inevitable path.

Just Want To Forget.

Just want to forget,

To erase my mind,

To go on living,

As I try to make something of myself,

Get myself out of the dark ocean.

To set sail out into my world of my own.

To forget the darkness of the past,

The times to be forgotten.

To make my escape.

To start anew,

My new self, a new life.

The end of me.

Just wanting to forget, so I can escape.

Just want to forget.

Remembering The Times

Remembering the times,

Those good days,

Always a place in my mind.

The thinking, memories and the times.

Left in the feeling.

Of those good times.

The memories and places once been.

The memories and thoughts,

An ever-present reminder.

Living in the present,

Waiting for the times ahead,

Remembering those good times gone past.

A collection of memories,

A life, all on shown before me, of me.

A pleasant reminder,

Remembering the times.

Reminder Of Me

A reminder of me,

Who I used to be,

Free eternal, unbound and unchained.

Free-thinking, a spirit in good health.

Loving life for the friends who’ve touched me,

Those who unknowingly saved me.

To those I would do the same.

To save, to walk the ends of the earth for,

Those kind few, who reminded me of me,

Me of who I was,

Me of the worth of living.

The escape from a horrid past,

The needless pain,

To those who confirmed,

Who backed,

Those who supported.

I hold you dear.

Dear to my soul.

Dear to my being.

Those who reminded me of who I am and who I need to be, should be, will be.

Living In The Moment

Living in the moment,

The presence of being,

Being in the present.

Living life to its completion,

To my goals and aims.

My world I form around me.

The world shaped by me.

The world shaping me.

My being,

Ever-present in this split-moment.

This life I lead,

Intertwined with those around me,

Those I care.

The presence of being.

The consciousness of living.

The breathing, heavy through my body.

Seeing, the wonders life brings.

Those moments passed. Moments remembered. Moments kept.

Through life, I remember.

I am.

I try to live in the moment.

Glad for what I have.

Glad for those I love.

Glad for those I care for.

Glad for the people who’ve touched me.

For those who’ve made me who I am today.

Living in the moment.

Making my mark.

Content in the moment and the mark I leave.

Living in this moment.
Inspired by this simple video I found and with recent events and happy moods did touch me: https://www.facebook.com/abnormalsociety1984/videos/1457852744309967/

Curse of Caring

The curse of caring,

The pain of helping, but wanting to help,

But pained by it.

The dichotomies of wanting above all to help, yet hurting because of it.

Wanting to help, yet feel helpless,

Wanting to care, but always doing it wrong.

In the midst of the summer’s sun, there is a dying flower.

Within the darkness there is always some pain.

Left with the curse of caring too much,

For too many,

The curse of caring,

Left in pain, by my own hand,

With no one to turn to.

Little Gift From The Heart

Little gift from the heart,

This little treasure,

Care made tangible,

The little gift from the heart,

Showing me the way,

Showing me the value in being human,

Showing the light, to come from the next day.

Showing care in true form,

Feeling made whole.

The new day,

To shroud out the empty feeling,

Showing me the value of being human.

The value of living,

Through those little gifts from the heart.

The kindness,

The care,

The close friendship,

Knowing someone is there,

Knowing someone cares,

The little gift from the heart.

Funny how a gift from the heart,

Touches the soul.

Embodies a reality worth living.

The treasure to wait for,

The next day to come, to win, to live

And love life,

To love living.

The gift, to encapsulate feeling,

To stretch the mind out of darkness,

Into the light,

Into the beauty of living.

The gift of friendship,

That touches my heart.

Touches my soul.

Brings me to life.

Shows me what I could not see.

Shows me what I’ve missed,

What I stopped seeing,

What I’ve been missing.

The wholeness of being.

Wholeness of feeling,

The kind warm feeling.

The kind and caring friend.

Who writes onto my soul,

A mark of care,

The cherished feeling,

The sight worth seeing,

To life to keep living.

To care for all,

To be there for all.

To be me,

To value this.

To keep the feeling.

To remind me what I’ve missed.

The feeling of being

So much said.

So much to say.

So much,

Embodied,

Encapsulated.

By, through, this little gift from the heart.
Writing this, got a birthday present from my dearest friend. Gone through lots recently, this gift, a gift from the heart, a gift to show the truth. To show me reality. To remind me.

Total gratitude to all my friends, especially my closest friends, whom I will always be there for, will always care for, no matter where I go or however far I drift. The conversations, gifts, even merely hanging out.

These are the biggest and best gifts. The gift of life, the gift to remind how and why life is worth living. Those times where everything works out, where everything works, everything is good.

Being, loving life, loving my friends. Caring for my friends. As they do for me, and never fail to remind me, even if I sometimes find it hard to see. They’re there. All is good.