Once Upon A Time …. There Was a Nomad Book

It was written and published in America in 1965. Mr. Williams was its father, named it Stoner, and gave it this dress.

Stoner, John Williams, New York Review Books (USA), paperback edition
Stoner, John Williams, New York Review Books (USA), paperback edition

The book was not happy to sit on bookshelves, mostly in bookstores. It waited and waited until one day when a gentleman found it, read it, and loved it. Mr. Colum McCann was his name, and bought fifty copies to give to his friends. But he could not keep the secret. He had to tell everyone how good that book was. He told The Guardian, back in the UK, that it was “One of the great forgotten novels of the past century.”

The story goes that a lady, in France, read McCann’s article, found the book in English, read it, and loved it. She loved it so much that she translated it. It took her four years and finally in September 2011, the book changed language, changed its dress, still remaining the same.

Stoner, John Williams, Le Dilettante (FRANCE), paperback edition
Stoner, John Williams, Le Dilettante (FRANCE), paperback edition

Her passion for the book sparked interest in other countries, even before the French edition was published. So the book travelled to another country, this time to Spain, enjoying to be dressed up anew every time they wanted to. Then Italy, Israel, Poland, and Romania.

In Portugal, Germany and Spain again, this time in Catalan, the books was translated and the cover designed each time as if it was born there.

Stoner, John Williams, Publicacoes D. Quixote (PORTUGAL), DTV (GERMANY), Ediciones 62 (CATALAN)
Stoner, John Williams, Publicacoes D. Quixote (PORTUGAL), DTV (GERMANY), Ediciones 62 (CATALAN)

It travelled north and landed in The Netherlands, Denmark, and Norway. They picked the same dress, so different from all the other ones. It was among the Danish, that someone thought it would have been nice to carry the book on a tram, during a boring commute. They might have thought that beauty should be made always available, ready to use. So they turn the book into a flip back edition.

Stoner, John Williams, Dwarsligger (DENMARK)
Stoner, John Williams, Dwarsligger (DENMARK)

But the story was not over. It travelled far, far away, touching the heart of so many people, so diverse like the covers it had. It reached the far East and the words became characters and ideograms, but still the story was there.

Stoner, John Williams, CM Publishing (CHINA – in complex characters), Random House Korea (KOREA), Horizon (CHINA – in simplified characters)
Stoner, John Williams, CM Publishing (CHINA – in complex characters), Random House Korea (KOREA), Horizon (CHINA – in simplified characters)

Finally, it came back home. Fifty years later, it was welcomed by its folks after it travelled all around the world.  Being a book is great. Being a nomad book is greater.

 

Stoner - Books Around the World
Stoner – Books Around the World

 

Read books in translations!   Follow the Facebook Page Books Around the World

 

Acknowledgments: Thank you Sarah Yake, literary agent, for sharing this story, a Saturday afternoon, at the beautiful Library of Rosemont College (PA), where these pictures were taken.

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