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Book review: the Man who wrote the perfect novel

In retrospect, it is difficult to understand: how could it take so long for John Williams's masterful novel ”Stoner” to spread in large quantities all over the world, to (almost) be established as an märkestitel in the american efterkrigsprosa? Or for the whole of his sparse writing to break through?

A number of possible answers are given in the biography ”John Williams. The man who wrote the perfect novel”. Charles J Shields represent the first disappointing responses from förlagshåll – of the protagonist: John Stoner is the ”blekgrå”. The novel as a whole is ”depressing”.

It is also true that the ”Stoner” comes in a time, as Shields writes, is convinced of the own era the incomparable charge.

In the middle of the american 1960s lives strongly. Might actually all happen, for the first time in history. So will it, then, ”Stoner”, a story about the flat, and if a persevering of life, as if quite a few choices there were in a person's life.

Many are the great writings which have come and gone from the history of literature. Precisely in our time, it is for many difficult to comprehend how John Williams works, with the ”Butcher's Crossing”, the Stoner” and ”Augustus”, could be so unnoticed while he was alive, even if he had quite good reviews and a price.

You can call him a writers ' writer, which may explain a part: someone who fine-tunes tone and technique, so that those who are writing or interested in fiction development find themselves standing before a masterpiece, a gifted skill. Maybe also the author's idea of the literary creation in the slightly subtle way hinted at in the text, as something that shimmers lightly under the surface, in order to talk about an authors ' author.

just a he, a white man who wrote or write on any of the major litteraturspråken.

John Williams (1922-1994) was a white man in the final stages of these creatures unbroken succession. In the biography of his life emerges, this explosive final stage, when it söps, everyone smoked, and knullades with emphasis: Williams was married four times, abused alcohol and smoked apart their lungs.

the Depiction of Williams ' early life is meager on information, and Shields is no compelling storyteller; no one who embroiders particularly cleverly with the thin wire he has. Much more interesting it will be when John Williams writing and aesthetic ideas to be placed in their context, and when the biography focuses on the work processes involved in the novels and in his work as a university lecturer in literature. He belonged to a circle which cut across with the modernist ideal tribute to the elizabethan poetry for its formal qualities; and any one of these partly impersonal, språkskickliga and kompositionsnoggranna ideals were also his own writing.

Maybe have it controlled, precise allocation supported the removal of one and the other readers. At the same time there where nothing less than a vibrant existential gravity, regardless of romanernas action: the ”Stoners” tribute to the conscientious man and the embodiment of art as a revelation, in the ”Butcher's Crossing” with the depiction of a paradisiacal landscape before the people, in the ”Augustus” of power, as a life form.

John Williams which is not at all apparent when one conjures up an academic Mad men-figure and when writing about his classicist ideals: his staging of himself. Shields tells us how he took tallektioner which resulted in a välmodulerad baritone, exempt from country-arbetardialekt. He dressed elegantly, and wanted to give the impression of innate immunities. All in all, writing Shields, had Williams a slight tendency to make his life more literary, to find the stories about the scars and krigserfarenheter.

Such insights in a författarliv is reasonably exciting. But with the actual man John Williams will Shields not very far, in spite of all the interviews with the survivors he has done. The biography will be a useful overview of the special-interest, if not a great reading in and of itself.

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