48 years after it was first published, Stoner, an understated novel by the late American author John Williams has been announced as Waterstones Book of the Year 2013…
Stoner was first published in the U.S. in 1965 but had fallen out of print by the following year. Almost half a century later, it is being widely hailed as a classic of modern literature and has won a legion of high-profile fans including Ian McEwan, Bret Easton Ellis, Nick Hornby, Julian Barnes (whose Levels of Life was up against Stoner for this year’s Waterstones Book of the Year accolade) and Tom Hanks, who described the work as “one of the most fascinating things that you’ve ever come across.”
Our booksellers’ curiosity around Stoner, a quiet story about an unassuming literary scholar whose career stalls as he struggles with his marriage, was ignited last year, after booksellers spotted it was making an impression on bestseller charts across Europe. So, when Waterstones booksellers across the country were asked to nominate a title that stood out in its field and would be a perfect read or present this Christmas for anyone who loves truly great writing, nominations for Stoner flooded in.
In this fast moving digital age, the success of this near-forgotten novel goes to show that recommendation and passionate hand-selling still make a dramatic difference to a book’s fortunes. Waterstones M.D. James Daunt said:
“This year, most unusually, it was a nigh-on 50 year old book that ignited our booksellers’ passion. It is incredible that Stoner had effectively disappeared and wonderful that a wave of recommendation and word of mouth has seen this exhilarating novel sweep all before it in 2013.”
Speaking of Stoner’s success this year, Frances Macmillan, Senior Editor at Vintage Classics, said: “It has been so wonderful to see Stoner find the wide readership and rapturous reviews it truly deserves. The support from booksellers has been inspirational.”
You can Reserve & Collect the exclusive clothbound edition of Stoner from your local Waterstones bookshop (http://bit.ly/1cQEAu4), buy it online at Waterstones.com (Stoner) or download it in ePub format (http://bit.ly/1cQEGle)
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