Over the years I have learned a lot from reading literary fiction. I believe that you can take many lessons about people, human kind if you will from a good book. I am about to finish the novel Stoner by John Williams. The blurb by the New York Times promised me:
“Stoner is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away.”
I know better than to believe the back of a book, but I had also heard from friends that it was a classic and so I did have high expectations. They didn’t exactly come true.
From here watch out because of spoilers.
The most important thing to take away from this book is not your breath. It did however make me think about an aspect of love that I hardly think of. In the book the main character William Stoner marries the wrong woman It’s the beginning of the 20th century in America, divorce isn’t really an option. So they stay together and even have a daughter together. Stoner did love his wife when they first met and got married, even though she never really liked him. He is then unable to ever really dislike her, there is always something of that first love which keeps him with her. And he loves his daughter as I suppose all fathers love their children. The daughter grows up between the cold relationship of her parents and therefor can never love them honestly.
Stoner then has an affair with a university student. He is her professor. For a short time they have a wonderful life together, but then she is expelled and leaves town without notice. He has lost her too. He lives his whole life loving people who either do not love him back or get taken away from him. The thing about love which normally people hardly ever think of is that even when it is not returned it still exists, you can still feel it and it can still be a powerful emotion and is then not even a bad thing. If you accept it for what it is. If you manage to feel it by yourself, for yourself it can in these situations still be good even if it’s just a little.