Stoner, by John Williams

One chapter in, and I’m hooked.  William Stoner, a Missouri farm boy, is given the opportunity by his father to attend the University of Missouri to study agriculture.  Two years in he changes his major to literature, yet is uncertain about what he will do.  He doesn’t tell his parents.

Sloane,  an English professor there at the school, brings him to a realization a year away from graduation:

Sloane leaned forward until his face was close; Stoner saw the lines on the long thin face soften, and he heard the dry mocking voice become gentle and unprotected.

“But don’t you know, Mr. Stoner?” Sloane asked. “Don’t you understand about yourself yet? You’re going to be a teacher.”

Suddenly Sloane seemed very distant, and the walls of the office receded. Stoner felt himself suspended in the wide air, and he heard his voice ask, “Are you sure?”

“I’m sure,” Sloane said softly.

“How can you tell? How can you be sure?”

“It’s love, Mr. Stoner,” Sloane said cheerfully. “You are in love. It’s as simple as that.”

Maybe it is.

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