A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

This is the Great American Book that wouldn't have been for the mutton-headedly stubborn mother of the author. John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969 after meeting with spectacular failure in getting his manuscript published. His mother Thelma Toole never waivered in her belief of the greatness of her sons work, and finally managed to get it published in 1980. As a testament to the brilliance of the author and a mother's toil well rewarded, the book received the Pulitzer Prize in 1981.

Ignatius J. O'Reilly is a fat blob, a reactionary medievalist, a reclusive from the world he sees as depraved and infinitely lowbrow. He's the last beacon of morality and geometry, at least in his own paranoid mind. Ignatius is most insane in a New Orleans where the insane and bizarre is the norm. And at thirty he still lives at home with his poor mother and spends his time holed up in his room filling Big Chief writing tablets with inspired wisdom. But after a car accident the necessity of him making money thrusts Ignatius upon the unsuspecting world around him. The tragicomic adventures that now take place are sure to make a mark in the psyche of all that meet him.

Pitted against our anti-hero is a brilliant cast of misfits and weirdos; Patrolman Mancuso who is punished by having to patrol dressed in outlandish costumes; Darlene who performs her stripping with a talented cockatoo at Lana Lee's establishment; Myrna Minkoff to whom sex will solve all the worlds problems; and many others. These are woven into the plot in unexpected ways but with catastrophic results for Ignatius and everyone else.


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This is a wonderful book. It will make you laugh out loud, and stay up past your bed time. One of few novels that can live up to its hype.

Publisher: Random House, © 1980.
Subject: Fiction / Humor
ISBN: 014-018-810-X

Buy A Confederacy of Dunces from Amazon.com or buy A Confederacy of Dunces from Amazon.co.uk.

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Last updated by Jack on 14 April, 2008 in Reading.

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