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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 the Paperback edition.
This was written in the 50-60's, when laughing at bumbling, fat, misguided people was encouraged: think Jackie Gleason . Yawn. Read morePublished 3 days ago by judith Babbitt
Reading the 1-star reviews is a hoot. They all basically say the same thing: they didn't laugh, therefore the book isn't funny, therefore it isn't good. Read morePublished 8 days ago by two in tents
You have to know and love NOLA for this to be five stars. The book is very entertaining but not really a page turner. Read morePublished 11 days ago by B. Brockman
My god, what an unexpected delight. Highly Recommend unless you genuinely dislike idiot protagonists.Published 11 days ago by Reginald Verrier
A brilliant book. I've read it some 20 times over the years. I love having it in my Kindle as a backup for dull moments like delayed flights. Kills me every time.Published 13 days ago by Michel
Just a great book. Entertaining, funny, dark, laugh out loud!Published 18 days ago by Theresa Grisham