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Showing 1-10 of 1,073 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 2,335 reviews
on February 28, 2017
When critics say Confederacy is not true-to-life because it's full of despicable characters; unlikely situations; and plot-holes, I have to wonder what kind of lives they have---because that's a near perfect description of mine. JKT is (was) a master at turn-of-phrase with a gift for writing large the theater-of-the-absurd, but that's not really why I love this book so much.

I re-read aCoD every three to five years for a "humility tune up." The book is a highly polished soul mirror that's a lot more true-to-life than most people want it to be. Ignatius, or "His Royal Malignancy" as I like to call him, is the central character, and an extreme example of an arrogant bastard with absolutely nothing to be arrogant about, but the whole book is like a case study for John Calvin's doctrine of total depravity; everyone in it is---to some degree--indelibly screwed up. I suspect this is why so many people hate this book. At some point they see themselves here and realize that the depth of their own depravity is invariably greater than they suspected, realized, or certainly would ever have cared to admit.

If you love Ignatius J. Reilly, there is probably something really wrong with you, but if you hate him---there definitely is. Either way, you're doomed.
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on January 28, 2014
It was during the reading of this book that I came to realize I seem to have an affinity for a certain type of protagonist: physical oddity; social misfit; egocentric; and, to varying degrees, delusional. I love those guys! What exactly that says about me I try not to think about too much... Anyway, when compared to some of my other favorite book characters (Oskar, The Tin Drum; Misha, Absurdistan; Euchrid, And The Ass Saw The Angel), good ol' Ignatius Reilly may very well be the most colorful of all.

I gather from perusing some of the 1-star reviews, that some people find Ignatius too distasteful and repellent to empathize/sympathize with (or in some cases, even finish the book). That's fine. To each their own; but to me that only strengthens the argument that Toole did a masterful job in crafting the character. He's too offensive to even read?! Awesome. Just imagine if you were a character in the book that had to actually deal with him face to face. Oh the horror! Sympathize with those poor souls.
Yet, despite his beastly outward appearance, he's still very much a child at heart. Living with his mom, doing dead end jobs, dressing up in costume, fantasizing, developing ideologies and attempting to act on them. Let's be honest, no matter what our age or place in life, we all still have a bit of that going on within us. We just don't always act on it like Ignatius does.
The results of his antics- and other characters' reactions to them- while not terribly surprising in my opinion, are still worth a read; and definitely worth 5 stars.
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on May 18, 2014
I read this book and enjoyed it immensely when it was first published. That was a long time ago, so I decided to add it to my kindle and read it again. Being from New Orleans, I think it was better this time than before for many reasons. It took me back to a New Orleans that only exists in memories. The old Canal Street of that time, D. H. Holmes department store where Ignatius is "waitin' for his momma," Werleins music store where he purchases a string for his lute, and Woolworth's (yes, some locals did refer to it as Woolsworth) as we so eloquently put it down here, 'ain't dere no more.' As I made my way through the pages, I could feel the sights and sounds of a New Orleans long gone. The dialect was spot on, and there is lots of humor throughout the story. John Kennedy Toole was a genius. It's unfortunate he gave up and took his own life at such a young age. He had a brilliant future ahead of him if he had only held on a little longer.
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on February 13, 2011
You can credit the South Florida radio talk show The Love Doctors with my reading this book. "Doctor Rich" Dickerson would constantly bring up A Confederacy of Dunces as an influence in his life, so I figured I might as well dedicate some time flipping through the pages.

I'm glad I did.

I bring a unique perspective to this book as a self-proclaimed pop culture geek. It's from that mindset that I realized that this book is (wholly by accident) about the genre convention stereotype: "the fanboy". The main character, Ignatius Jacques Reilly exhibits the following qualities:

1. Socially awkward to the point of being overly social. You know the type.
2. He dresses outrageously and is never without his mismatched hunting cap (much like cosplayers out of costume.)
3. He gets into long winded nonsensical arguments with about random things via letters (very much akin to online "flame wars" on fan forums.)
4. He cites Batman comics as the only impactful literature of the time.
5. He still lives with his mom while in his thirties.

A Confederacy of Dunces is a satire that depicts the ridiculous antics of various folks in New Orleans on the 1960s. It is profounds in its biting commentary on people and essays have been written about the book and the deceased author (if you haven't read the story behind him, DO IT) - yet none that I have found point out the obvious (at least to me) connection to current stereotypes in fandom culture.

If you've ever walked the around San Diego Comic Con or Dragon*Con, I suggest you take some time to read this and see how alive and well Ignatius is in today's society.
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on January 15, 2015
“It is a scene which combines the worst of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Fritz Lang’s Metropolis; it is mechanized Negro slavery; it represents progress which the Negro has made from picking cotton to tailoring it … My valve threw in a hearty response.” This is from page 130. Ignatius Reilly writes for his grand designs of social upheaval through a more sophisticated lens than he can otherwise be seen through. In this glimpse can also be seen the satire of John Kennedy Toole, but then again the short shelf life of well-meaning political correctness. On the other side of the book, Levy Pants is owned by a beleaguered and himself well-meaning and hen-pecked husband, Gus Levy. And Jones is illiterate, irreverent, and as stereotyped as New Orleans can be, but because he works for below minimum wage, the alternative being arrested as a “vagran,” he is a hero who exposes a pornography ring.
The genius of A Confederacy of Dunces is its limited appeal to only the most literate readers. To the regular summer reader, Ignatius would be too fat to be funny, Jones too lazy, and New Orleans police would not make favorable headlines near the end. The racial sensibilities keep the wheels turning within the plot, introducing new characters and surprising one-liners, forcing strange bedfellows in a book alongside Hispanic strippers, senile retirees, and bitchy bosses, but popular, current sensibility would not allow for so many laughs now. The best reminder of this is that Walker Percy wrote the introduction. This is the Old South, the Easy Rider version that makes distinguishing hippies from rednecks from tourists so fuzzy; this was a message of equal opportunities and meritocracy preached to a segregated congregation.
The book is more visual, or means to be, than most novels. The actions are awkward, the colors are bright, and New Orleans is left to the imagination. The characters are grotesque, the scenes compromising, and the coincidences come from extraordinarily varied points. Sometimes this means pay less attention to the dialogue; sometimes it means a character will take on a roll that reads faster. Trixie, for example, moved from an office which but for the signs was hard to see to a home which but for Mrs. Levy’s board was cleaner but most likely still very tacky. Ignatius ran into Dorian and George and maybe a couple of other bit characters, and the most important note to take was that Ignatius was going to respond with anything that could reflect his delusions of grandeur. His physical comedy was not effective, partly because fat is now too epidemic to be funny. His persistence and neo-idealism, however, is as reviewers say: Faustian, Don Quixote-like. Once Toole forced Ignatius to act, the plot became too fast to be visible, but the ladies from the auxiliary came into a scene with the characters I did know, so there is that magic spark caused by interrelated characters. I had my doubts deep into the novel, but on page 346, I realized confidently that this was all going to tie together like a classic Seinfeld scenario.
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on September 5, 2013
Intricately plotted, written with verve, the novel must be read to be believed. I just finished my tenth rereading and it remains a miracle. What makes it so? First, there is the palpable sense of place - you feel New Orleans come alive, even though this reader has never been there, and even though it is firmly anchored in the New Orleans of the early 1960s. The dialect is amazing, even when it could easily become offensive. It is reflective of the time and place, not patronizing (and this goes for every character). Second, there is the breathtaking speed with which incidents are misconstrued and recast. Ignatius J Reilly (IJR) has a worldview that is constantly at odds with the century and his pronouncements are so thunderous and articulate that his listeners fall in line. The doddering Trixie becomes a sage, Mrs Reilly becomes overly dependent on her wine, and Darlene becomes a devotee of Boethius. None of this makes objective sense, granted, but the intricacies pile up to a conclusion that is revelatory in its brilliance
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on December 2, 2015
This is a sprawling comic novel full of unforgettable characters ridiculous situations and often insulting stereotypes. Published posthumously after the authors tragic suicide it nevertheless went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. But perhaps its greatest accomplishment is the main character Ignatius J Reilly. He is hard to describe beyond calling him a modern day Don Quixote, but with more flatulence. He is a man at war with the modern world, out of touch with his own emotions, manipulative, self-righteous, eloquent and insane. He is the swirling center of the book, but there are many others memorable characters. Set in New Orleans in the 1970's the novel is colorful. humorous and implausible, but you won't ever forget its scenes. I read that Nick Offerman played Reilly on stage. If the movie adaptation ever sees the light of day, he would be perfect.
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on September 13, 2017
My favorite book of all time (and I've read my share, in all categories. I bought this copy to give to a friend, as I won't let my own coy out the door. If you need a good laugh and bizarre characters. you'll love this book too. It has an interesting back story. It won the Pulitzer Prize some 5 or 6 years after the author - John Kennedy Toole - committed suicide. Such a shame. Read it and pass it on.
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on April 30, 2017
This was laugh-out-loud funny, both as au audiobook and in traditional format. I read it in combination, listening in the car and during housework, reading during quieter moments. The sad thing is that it is probably quite autobiographical. The author was troubled and committed suicide before the book was published. This would make a fantastic movie, although no one yet has succeeded in that attempt.
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on September 3, 2017
One of my top five favorite books of all time. I have actually met a real life Ignatius and my husband and I laugh hysterically every time I draw the correlation. This book is so clever and hilarious that my heart aches for the author and swells for the mother who adamantly pursued its publication. I highly recommend everyone read this piece of literary gold.
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