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Meet Ignatius J. Reilly, the hero of John Kennedy Toole's tragicomic tale, A Confederacy of Dunces. This 30-year-old medievalist lives at home with his mother in New Orleans, pens his magnum opus on Big Chief writing pads he keeps hidden under his bed, and relays to anyone who will listen the traumatic experience he once had on a Greyhound Scenicruiser bound for Baton Rouge. ("Speeding along in that bus was like hurtling into the abyss.") But Ignatius's quiet life of tyrannizing his mother and writing his endless comparative history screeches to a halt when he is almost arrested by the overeager Patrolman Mancuso--who mistakes him for a vagrant--and then involved in a car accident with his tipsy mother behind the wheel. One thing leads to another, and before he knows it, Ignatius is out pounding the pavement in search of a job.
Over the next several hundred pages, our hero stumbles from one adventure to the next. His stint as a hotdog vendor is less than successful, and he soon turns his employers at the Levy Pants Company on their heads. Ignatius's path through the working world is populated by marvelous secondary characters: the stripper Darlene and her talented cockatoo; the septuagenarian secretary Miss Trixie, whose desperate attempts to retire are constantly, comically thwarted; gay blade Dorian Greene; sinister Miss Lee, proprietor of the Night of Joy nightclub; and Myrna Minkoff, the girl Ignatius loves to hate. The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you'll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius--selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life--who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969 and never saw the publication of his novel. Ignatius Reilly is what he left behind, a fitting memorial to a talented and tormented life. --Alix Wilber --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Read this may year ago and wondered how it would hold up upon a re-reading. It was better the second time around. Perhaps because I had been to New Orleans in the interim. Read morePublished 14 hours ago by Bertilak
This novel won the Pulitzer Prize many years ago, and I’ve got to think that had as much to do with the provenance of the book as it did with its quality. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Steven M. Anthony
I loved the title. I was intrigued by the fact that the author hung himself and his mom got the book published. I was pissed that I bought it. See this line here, from a review? Read morePublished 4 days ago by Roger Kenyon
I read this one every couple of years or so. One of my favs. I love to hate this character!Published 4 days ago by MJ
This title was chosen by our book club. At the meeting last night, with only 5 members attending, only one thought it was worth the time and money, Four of us could barely force... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Victoria B. Terry
This book was recommended to me by my boyfriend. I'm not much of a reader but thought I'd give it a try because he said it was a good book that he read several years ago but still... Read morePublished 5 days ago by Kathy