A Confederacy of Dunces

by John Kennedy Toole

Other authorsWalker Percy (Foreword)
Paperback, 1987




Grove Weidenfeld (1987), Edition: 20th Anniversary ed., 405 pages


Ignatius J. Reilly of New Orleans, --selfish, domineering, deluded, tragic and larger than life-- is a noble crusader against a world of dunces. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. In magnificent revolt against the twentieth century, Ignatius propels his monstrous bulk among the flesh posts of the fallen city, documenting life on his Big Chief tablets as he goes, until his maroon-haired mother decrees that Ignatius must work.

Media reviews

John Kennedy Toole
La conjuration des imbéciles
traduit de l'américain par J.-P. Carasso, Laffont
«Drôle de livre, énorme dans la bouffonnerie et la satire, énorme comme son personnage principal, une sorte d'Ubu dévastateur qui lance des anathèmes sur un monde en décomposition.» (Lire,
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décembre 1981)
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5 more
A pungent work of slapstick, satire and intellectual incongruities - yet flawed in places by its very virtues.
Ultimately, Ignatius is simply too grotesque and loony to be taken for a genius; the world he howls at seems less awful than he does. Pratfalls can pass beyond slapstick only if they echo, and most of the ones in this novel do not. They are terribly funny, though, and if a book's price is measured
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against the laughs it provokes, A Confederacy of Dunces is the bargain of the year.
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This is the kind of book one wants to keep quoting from. I could, with keen pleasure, copy all of Jones's dialogue out and then get down to the other characters. Apart from being a fine funny novel (but also comic in the wider sense, like Gargantua or Ulysses), this is a classic compendium of
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Louisiana speech. What evidently fascinated Toole (a genuine scholar, MA Columbia and so on) about his own town was something that A.J. Liebling noted in his The Earl of Louisiana: the existence of a New Orleans city accent close to the old Al Smith tonality, 'extinct in Manhattan', living alongside a plantation dialect which cried out for accurate recording.
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El protagonista de esta novela es uno de los personajes más memorables de la literatura norteamericana: Ignatus Reilly -una mezcla de Oliver Hardy delirante, Don Quijote adiposo y santo Tomás de Aquino, perverso, reunidos en una persona-, que a los treinta años aún vive con su estrafalaria
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madre, ocupado en escribir una extensa y demoledora denuncia contra nuestro siglo, tan carente de teología y geometría como de decencia y buen gusto, un alegado desquiciado contra una sociedad desquiciada. Por una inesperada necesidad de dinero, se ve 'catapultado en la fiebre de la existencia contemporánea', embarcándose en empleos y empresas de lo más disparatado.
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Ruggero Bianchi Tuttolibri settembre 1998 Il caso di Una banda di idioti di John Kennedy Toole ricorda sorprendentemente, per molti versi, quello di Il giovane Holden di J.D. Salinger. Opere, entrambe, di autori (quasi) esordienti e comunque alla loro prima esperienza nel campo della
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narrativa lunga. E scritte, entrambe, da artisti irrequieti e verosimilmente nevrotici, non disposti a campare sulla sinecura del loro primo successo. Conosciamo tutti, di Salinger, la scelta di centellinare i propri scritti e di difendere la sua scelta esistenziale, una sorte di coleridgiana morte-in-vita. Ma pochi sanno della fine di Toole, nato nel 1937 e suicidatosi nel 1969, a soli trentadue anni, lasciando alla madre il compito di trasformare in bestseller e in classico moderno un libro che forse non pensava di poter mai pubblicare e che, negli Stati Uniti, uscì grazie soltanto al parere autorevole (sebbene segretamente perplesso) del celebre critico Walter Percy, che firma anche l’introduzione all’edizione italiana.Ma le analogie non si fermano qui. Sia Il govane Holden che Una banda di idioti pongono, fin dal titolo, grossi problemi alla bravura dei traduttori. Il primo alludendo, con la dizione originale di The Catcher in the Rye, alle figure del baseball e alle coltivazioni del mais; il secondo chiamando in causa, sotto la formula di A Confederacy of Duncies, la realtà di un Sud "confederato" nella guerra civile e l’indimenticato poema di Alexander Pope, The Dunciad (1728), un capolavoro satirico inglese del primo Settecento che nessuno oggi legge come nessuno oggi legge il Parini e, probabilmente, per le stesse ragioni. Come se non bastasse, ai due romanzi è toccata di fatto la medesima sorte in Italia. The Catcher in the Rye di Salinger, uscito nel 1952 nel nostro Paese con il titolo Vita da uomo (Casini editore, traduzione di Jacopo Darca), divenne un bestseller grazie alla nuova edizione di Einaudi del 1961 (trad. di A. Motti). A Confederacy of Duncies passò inosservato dal pubblico una quindicina d’anni fa, sebbene Luciana Bianciardi vincesse, per la sua traduzione oggi ripubblicata in altra cornice, il Premio Monselice 1983.
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User reviews

LibraryThing member kidzdoc
This winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, published posthumously after the author's suicide in 1969, is set in early 1960s New Orleans. Ignatius J. Reilly is a corpulent, vulgar and irreverent 30 year old who has two college degrees but cannot seem to last more than a month on any job, no
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matter how menial. He lives with his widowed mother, who drinks frequently and loves her boy despite his innumerable flaws and boorish behavior. Ignatius is both fascinated and repelled by his former Tulane classmate Myrna Minkoff, a woman from the Bronx who has moved back to NYC to engage in acts of political and sexual revolution. She frequently encourages him to join her multiple causes, but Ignatius wants nothing more than to inspire the masses to rebel against capitalist establishments or the military, in order to outdo his former colleague.

The novel is filled with characters that could have only come from New Orleans: Darlene, who sells drinks in a shady French Quarter strip club, the Night of Joy, and creates an strip tease act with her pet parakeet in order to make her first break; Mancuso, an NOPD officer who is forced to wear a series of humiliating disguises until he is able to capture a single miscreant; Gus Levy, the indifferent owner of Levy Pants, whose failing company employs Ignatius and Miss Trixie, the 80 year old senile clerk who repeatedly confuses Ignatius with a recently departed female employee; Burma Jones, the black janitor of the Night of Joy who reluctantly works there at below minimum wage salary to avoid being put back into the city jail for vagrancy; and numerous others.

When I originally read this novel 30 years ago I thought it was uproariously funny and brilliant, as it accurately portrayed a segment of the Crescent City's population that I was fairly familiar with. Unfortunately A Confederacy of Dunces was a disappointment on a second reading, as the humor quickly grew stale and the characters did not appeal to me. Readers who are familiar with mid-20th century New Orleans culture may enjoy this novel to some degree, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone else.
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LibraryThing member VisibleGhost
There are about fifty reasons why I love this book. Here are a few of them. First, none of the characters are worthy of emulation. They have no redeeming qualities. None. Zero. Zilch. They aren't evil- they're just goofy banality writ large. It's easy to write a character that is easy to hate. Just
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make them so evil that the reader can't stomach them. None of that here. Also there is no comeuppance served upon their inept heads. They are living in their same world at the end as they were in the beginning. Some circumstances have changed but there is absolutely no happily ever after. Kind of like real life.

Nobody is likable in Confederacy. They are all wacky and weird in their existence. Not likable does not mean not entertaining. They are endlessly entertaining. Not to mention- sometimes hilarious. There is no overall moral lesson involved. You won't learn a damn thing about how to better yourself by reading this. No answers to anything are forthcoming. Readers looking for insight will be left shaking their heads and muttering insults directed at the author and readers who praise such foolishness.

Finally, the end is not the end. Readers will forever wonder if Ignatuis J. Reilly's and Myrna Minkoff's coming together will survive the next fifteen minutes or if it is the beginning a long inharmonious adventure.
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LibraryThing member littlegeek
Fabulous and funny. Amazing characters. And sad, once you know about the author's suicide.

The only thing that bothers me about it is the misogyny. Every major male character has some unappealing woman who is holding him down. (Ignatius has his mom, Mr. Levy his wife, Jones his boss.) I want to give
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him a pass on this because it was written before the women's movement got going, but it was rather glaring. I do like how Ignatius is rescued by Myrna in the end.

I just kept thinking about Toole's mom spending years & years trying to get her son's book published after his death, despite how badly mothers come off in it. Mrs. Toole deserves our undying gratitude and respect.
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LibraryThing member Widsith
“I am at the moment writing a lengthy indictment against our century. When my brain begins to reel from my literary labors, I make an occasional cheese dip.”

A very funny but, as its detractors like to point out, slightly flabby book, A Confederacy of Dunces is dominated by the huge
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blancmange-like presence of its protagonist, Ignatius J Reilly. Gluttonous, onanistic, loquacious and determinedly hard done-by, he's a Falstaffian creation, a kind of demonic Oliver Hardy rolling and farting and fulminating through a brilliantly evoked 1960s New Orleans.

There is no looking past Ignatius – if you can't stand him, then you're not going to get far with this book. Still, I'm kind of surprised that so many of the negative reviews here are just complaints that Ignatius is unpleasant, or that the underlying sadness of his situation stops it from being funny. Maybe it's just different backgrounds, but for me he fits perfectly into the tradition of English comedy where I'm most comfortable, and where focusing on articulate but amoral monsters has been de rigueur from Saki to Blackadder. And yes, his situation is pretty pathetic, but you can't have good comedy without underlying pain. Besides, he wouldn't have it any other way. ‘Optimism nauseates me. It is perverse,’ as Ignatius declaims himself. ‘Since man's fall, his proper position in the universe has been one of misery.’

A failure in every aspect of his life, Ignatius, in his thirties, still lives at home with his mother in a dilapidated house in (what was then) the lower-class district of Constantinople Street. The novel's plotlessness follows the plotlessness of his own life, as he fails in a sequence of menial jobs (including most famously as a street hot-dog vendor), sabotages his mother's social life, tries to lead a black workers' uprising, and concocts an innovative plan to bring about world peace.

There is something almost heroic about Ignatius's refusal to accept his dismal position in life – he reacts to every indignity not with acceptance, but with voluble fury. Every time he opens his mouth to issue another misplaced denunciation against someone who's only trying to help him, I mentally rub my hands together with glee. It's just too much fun. And he's surrounded by this wonderful cast of supporting characters, all of them nonsensical stereotypes but portrayed with such disinterested, across-the-board mockery that it's impossible to find them offensive. I particularly loved Myrna Minkoff, a New York beatnik and caricature of the lefty liberated New Woman, with whom Ignatius is conducting a feverish love-hate correspondence.

When she writes him her plans to deliver a lecture at the Bronx YWCA on the theme of ‘Erotic Liberty as a Weapon Against Reactionaries’, Ignatius scribbles back in extravagant derision:

On the dark night of that dubious lecture, the sole member of your audience will probably be some desperately lonely old male librarian who saw a light in the window of the lecture hall and hopefully came in to escape the cold and the horrors of his personal hell. There in the hall, his stooped figure sitting alone before the podium, your nasal voice echoing among the empty chairs and hammering boredom, confusion and sexual reference deeper and deeper into the poor wretch's bald skull, confounded to the point of hysteria, he will doubtlessly exhibit himself, waving his crabbed organ like a club in despair against the grim sound that drones on and on over his head.

Your mileage may vary, but I could read pages and pages of this stuff. Which is just as well, because the book is not as tight as it could be, owing in part to the author's having committed suicide before getting it published instead of after. Unlike with some authors, I don't think that Toole's suicide actually has much relevance to the themes of A Confederacy of Dunces; I don't see this book as a howl of despair at an uncaring world, and I don't think Toole intended us to sympathise with Ignatius's worldview any more than we need to to find him by turns funny or tragic. It's much more knockabout and picaresque than that, as I think the ending makes clear.

It's also, among other things, a wonderful New Orleans book, in which the city's language and psychogeography play a major role. Toole's notation of the local dialect is both cartoonish and somehow completely convincing, and in a memorable aside, Ignatius describes the city as being ‘famous for its gamblers, prostitutes, exhibitionists, Antichrists, alcoholics, sodomites, drug addicts, fetishists, onanists, pornographers, frauds, jades, litterbugs, and lesbians’ – which does rather unfairly raise my hopes as someone planning a trip there next week.
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LibraryThing member figre
After reading one lackluster book after another, I was getting worried. Maybe they aren’t bad. Maybe I just don’t like books anymore. Maybe my tastes just don’t match the real world. Maybe I just set the bar too high. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe…

But then, after wandering the wilderness of
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mediocrity, I found my way back into the Promised Land. This is a great book. This is a wonderful book. This is an entertaining book. This is a funny book. This is a weird book. This is a book that tells a fantastical story in a warped real world with characters you meet every day (if you always take a wrong turn.) This is a book that defies being put down. This is a book that is an award-winner which deserves every award it gets. This book is…indescribable.

I won’t even bother with the plot. (And, no, I’m not afraid of spoilers. I don’t think there’s any way to spoil this book.) First, you’ve probably already heard that this is about the impossible character Ignatius Reilly and his improbable life in New Orleans. Second, I just don’t think you can describe Ignatius’ life with his mother and the characters of the street in any way that even begins to help. Let’s just say Ignatius is a genius (just ask him) who spends his time navigating a world full of dunces (just ask him again). And those characters/dunces are as strange a conglomeration as you will ever see. There is nary a loveable character in there, yet you will still find yourself caring about what happens to each and every one of them.

And, if this tale serves no other purpose, it makes a great palate cleanser for when you’ve had all the Ayn Rand you can stand. (Take that all you self-proclaimed geniuses.)
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LibraryThing member CynthiaBelgum
Why, oh why, would this win the Pulitzer Prize? As an accolade to a dead author? I tried to read it, got about a third of the way through before I decided it was never going to get any better. It's not well written, the characters are just caricatures, and abusive dialog doesn't strike me as funny.
LibraryThing member BooksForDinner
When in the first paragraph of Toole's masterpiece I read: "...Full, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs...", I knew I was in for something special. "Filled with disapproval and potato
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chip crumbs," is my favorite line in any book I've ever read, period. He could do no wrong before the end of the first page.Trying to imagine Mrs. Levy rolling around in the lounge on something called an 'exercise board' is the reason we read and don't watch movies.
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LibraryThing member BobNolin
This is my second reading, after a space of about 20 years. I'm now in my fifties, and perhaps that explains how different the book seems to me now. I remember thinking if was a work of comedic genius back then. But I was roughly the same age as Ignatius Reilly then, and probably found it funny to
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see someone who was making more of a mess of his life than I was at the time. It's really not a very funny book, but it does allow one to laugh at someone who, like many of us, has had a lot of education and still can't fit into the world. The world is a "confederacy of dunces," and how can one expect to flourish amidst such "mongoloids"?

Twenty years later, I've raised two kids, been through several career changes, remained happily married, and read many much funnier books. This one is just sad, and impossible to read without suspecting it to be highly autobiographical, by an author who killed himself at age 32. (Funnier authors: early Tom Robbins, Thomas Berger, Michael Malone.)

I didn't find anything profound, let alone humorous, about this book (though Jones is a hoot, at times). The dialects are handled well, but the verb "screamed" is used nearly every time someone opens his mouth. "Pass me that hot sauce," he screamed. Okay, so I exaggerate, but I'm too lazy to find an example. It's a story about someone who has managed to retain some bits of classical education, particularly from the Middle Ages. By claiming he was born in the wrong time, he gives himself an excuse to not deal with reality on its own terms. His denial of reality and the delusions he's under make him borderline insane. This is just sad. It's a sad book, with comic book plotting, cardboard characters, and one central character that is way beyond quirky: he's a sociopath.

The Pulitzer Prize was wasted on this one.
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LibraryThing member girlunderglass
I have to say I'm a bit perplexed by the very strong - both for and against - reactions to the book. The book being heralded as a work of genius and 'one of the best American novels' seems bizarre to me: it doesn't strike me as particularly visionary or innovative either plot-wise or stylistically
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speaking. Its characters are what I suppose one might call Dickensian: vivid, colorful and instantly recognizable from their appearance/speech/mannerisms, but ultimately lacking depth ('caricatures' might be too strong a word). What do we really know about their wounds, dreams, desires, fears, their emotional lives? All we are given is a basic summary upon which all interactions are based: Mr. Levy hates his company, his father and his wife. Lana Lee wants to make money. Jones wants to stay out of trouble with the cops and make money; he also likes Darlene but not Lana Lee. Myrna is a cause-slut looking to save someone. etc. etc.

On the other hand, I also can't see what people who decry this novel as 'the worst book I've ever read' are reacting to besides the obious: its popularity. CoD is not a particularly shocking book. And as for the non-argument of unlikeable characters: please, there have been great books written about murderer/rapist/paedophile/Nazi protagonists. I'm sure you can deal with a fat, conceited slob.

This isn't a bad book at all. At times, and if read in the right mood, it can be snappy, perceptive and entertaining. The setting is superbly done. Moreover, Toole clearly has an ear for the cadences and particularities of New Orleans speech and can do realistic dialogue no matter the race, class or education level of the speaker. But, ultimately, CoD is missing something. I agree with the reviewer who pointed out that the humor tends to get a bit boring and stale after a while. Which is not to say that the book isn't funny - it is - it's just that, for a Pulitzer-prize winning novel, I would expect a little more meat; humor won't sustain a book for 400 pages. You need some emotional connection too, a sense that, despite the distance in time and space, the author has managed to reach you, to touch you somehow. You know that feeling when you turn over the last page of the book, put it down, and everything is different? The world a little better? Your heart a little more open to others? Well, I just didn't find that here.

+ setting, cast of characters, humor, irreverent race/class commentary
- lack of depth, humor getting stale after a while, suspicion that exactly no one would give this book 5 stars if forced to read it twice
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LibraryThing member talk0underworld
Hailed by many as one of the greatest works of American fiction, A Confederacy of Dunces has a sordid history that makes its New Orleans setting that much more appropriate. In fact, it was the tale of the author's suicide after despairing of ever getting published that drew me to this work in the
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first place. John Kennedy Toole killed himself over this book, only to win a Pulitzer Prize posthumously.

Needless to say, I was expecting some sort of life-altering miracle book.

Which I found, but unexpectedly. In truth, this book is rather silly. The plot is wild and rollicking and highly unpredictable, the setting is intended to become a character in itself and doesn't quite make it, and the ending it a bit lackluster. However, what this book does contain is Ignatius J. Reilly, a character unlike any other in fiction. He is disgusting, annoying, pompous, ugly, and selfish. Yet somehow as the protagonist he is like a car wreck that, as passerby, one is drawn toward slowing down and observing. He is the first protagonist I have ever actively loathed, yet I was still intrigued. And, somehow, ashamedly, respected.

The dialogue between Ignatius and, well, anybody else makes this book worth reading. More than once. There are other interesting characters - my favorite was Mrs. Levy, a caricature of the spoiled housewife who I also loved to hate - but they are merely supporting actors to Ignatius's Oscar-worthy performance.

There are probably other, more literary reasons that A Confederacy of Dunces deserved to win a Pulitzer. No doubt others have written about it. But the way I see it, Ignatius won that award, and I doubt he would be surprised one whit. In fact, I imagine he felt entitled to it from the moment of his creation.
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LibraryThing member Dogberryjr
God, but I love this book.

This is the story of an incredible buffoon, his long-suffering mother, and the city of New Orleans, with a wonderful array of minor but engaging characters thrown in. If you have a taste for the absurd, the comic or just plain good writing, stop reading this right now and
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get this book.

The backstory of how the book came to be printed is achingly poignant, too.
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LibraryThing member MisterMelon
When I started this book, I would never in the reaches of my imagination have supposed that I would have enjoyed this book as immensely as I did, nor that the novel's characters would entangle in such a completely over the top and yet not off-putting way. There were numerous passages which made me
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quite literally laugh out loud. The dialogue in this novel is completely hilarious. Another thing I would not have imagined: that I would give one solitary hoot about the ultimate fate of the "protagonist" (or at least main character), Ignatius J. Reilly. Despite his countenance being faithfully reproduced on the cover of almost every edition of this novel I've ever seen, I couldn't help but picture him in every scene as the "m'lady" guy (google image search it if you don't know who I mean). A truly unlikeable fellow, by every conceivable standard, subjective or objective. I wholeheartedly recommend this book; definitely the hardest I've laughed at a book in my recent memory.
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LibraryThing member Wronghead
This is really a love-it-or-hate-it book. For those who did not enjoy it or did not quite "get it" it, it's understandable.

About the best analogy I can come up with is Quentin Terantino. People asked me whether I thought Kill Bill was a good movie. I wanted to say yes because I thoroughly enjoyed
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it, however, upon further reflection, it was not a terribly good movie in the traditional sense. Yes, it payed homage to all of my favorite movie genre's, yes it had good action and yes it had some decent dialog, but all things considered, it was not a movie made for mass consumption. It was a fan boy movie.

I loved it.

CoD is to be loved or hated for a different reason. This is a book about people. The main character is an antisocial caricature of a man who terrorizes the rest of the characters in the book and how people see the book is tied to who they identify with.

I saw a positive review on this book a long time ago from an older Christian woman who declared that, while she hated Ignatius, she loved the book because it was obvious that the book was about his mother's plight and not--as some might believe--a fat thirty-something pervert with delicate digestive system. While I could not disagree more, it is interesting that the book really tends to appeal to people who find a way to identify with the people in it.

I think most of the reader who enjoy this book do tend to identify with Ignatius on one level or another. Considering what a bastard he is, it certainly isn't easy to do.

Yes, he is mean spirited, yes he is unattractive, but he does evolve through-out the book. The ending was especially poignant as he is getting in the car.

I could prattle on forever and I will not change anyone's mind. You really do either love it or hate it, but it does have enormous value and it most certainly deserved all of the accolades it has received.
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LibraryThing member ecataldi
GAH! I wanted to like this book but I couldn't get into the humor. Which is weird, because I love Vonnegut and this is a very similar satirical book filled with dark and bawdy humor. Ignatius, the protagonist of the novel, is a world class asshole and is soo unbelievably unlikable, which is the
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point, I know, but I couldn't handle it. What a buffoon, what a jerk! He's a thirty year old loser who lives with his mom and is totally useless, he expects everything and gives nothing. He can't hold down a job, he is convinced of his own grandeur, and he expects the world to bow before his greatness. He bumbles about in life and pisses EVERYONE off in the process (including me, the reader). Man, I haven't hated a book this bad in a while!
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LibraryThing member Helena81
Funny, clever, absurd, yet somehow believable. A Confederacy of Dunces is a laugh-out-loud comedy with a tragic edge, a colorful cast of interwoven absurdist characters, and a clever and intricate plot. Ignatius is pompous, rude, pseudo-intellectual, lazy, and intensely infuriating. The other
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characters in the book generally have little to no redeeming qualities, although none are as repugnant as Ignatius. The characters' seemingly random encounters with one another weave a rip-roaringly farce that gets funnier and funnier as it builds.
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LibraryThing member Cecilturtle
A burlesque commentary on American society. This comical fresco of ridiculous characters culminates in a new beginning. The idomatic dialogue used throughout the book makes it lively - a fabulous read.
LibraryThing member robfucious
Wow...folks weren't kidding about how good this book is.

Ignatius is an anti-anti hero. This is a guy who by all accounts should be hung by his thumbs and yet, still finds his way out of trouble as easily as he gets into trouble.

The cast of characters are as colorful as a Mardi Gras floating, which
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is fitting since this tome takes place in New Orleans. I enjoyed seeing various local locales used in the novel and of course, the Lucky Dog cart has to be mentioned.

And pity half the characters that deal with Ignatius. One wonders why his mother and a few others don't just slap him upside the head. He deserves it, but in a twisted way, you can't help but root for him.
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LibraryThing member railarson
Damn entertaining. I laughed so much that our local coffee shop barristas began to get nervous. And rightly so. Read it.
LibraryThing member drewfull
Ignatius is a grotesquely obese, neurotic and quixotic character waddling his way through this classic tragicomedy. If you are looking for a likeable hero, you may not enjoy this novel, Ignatius sits well outside the behavioral boundaries of usual society, and is quite proud of that fact.However,
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through the situations he finds himself in and causes for his confederates throughout the novel, there is real comedy and Toole does a magnificent job of drawing out his characters and the city in which they reside, New Orleans.
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LibraryThing member The_Hibernator
In Confederacy of Dunces, 30-year old Ignatius J. Reilly is put upon to exit the safety of his snug (though trashed) bedroom of his mother’s home and find a job. The result is a cause-and-effect satire which is (apparently) a monument of American Literature. I didn’t really like it. It simply
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wasn’t my kind of book. Don’t get me wrong, I got a few laughs…and I can understand how people with a certain sense of humor (those who love cause-and-effect satires like Seinfeld or those who like laughing at the inadequacies and hypocrisies of humanity) would really enjoy this book. It also has a little Freudian satire in it. I just found the characters really annoying (I know I was supposed to). Couldn’t get into it.
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LibraryThing member steadfastreader
This is a great book. I found it to be reminiscent of Catch-22, with the large cast of characters. It's not as difficult of a read as Catch-22 because it runs completely chronologically.

Every character is eccentric and hilarious in his or her own way. While this book wasn't as 'laugh out loud'
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funny as I wanted it to be, it's definitely very amusing and completely worth the read. I'm completely convinced that I have missed most of the symbolism. Jones' glasses and over the top Southern black diction, Ignatius' continual referral of Lana Lee as a nazi, to Minkoff's name in general... this book is PACKED with what seems to be symbolism I don't get - but would definitely like to.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who has grown up in or around Louisiana.
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LibraryThing member trinityM82
It may have been my mood, but this was more of a chore to get though than a good read. Ignatious is sad and ridiculous as are the rest of the people in his life, and he's not even really an antihero. The character sketches are excellent and the characters are so round they seem not real, even. But
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overall, not worth the time.
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LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
A Confederacy of Dunces is one of the worst books I've ever forced myself to read, and Ignatius J. Reilly has wrested from Bella Swan the title of most despicable character in English fiction. In Toole's favor is that he wrote his character to be despicable, and he succeeded all too well. There is
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humor in the story, which accounts for the 1 1/2 stars I gave it, but the tone is unremittingly mean spirited. Lard coated dog do would leave a better taste in my mouth.
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LibraryThing member mydomino1978
The main character is such a lazy, fat, slob that you want to dislike him, for his gross manners, the way he treats his mother, his yellow sheets. And yet, you can't help but laugh at his adventures, especially since everyone one knows at least one person kind of like him. Funny, sad, with lots of
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convolutions that somehow come together in the most improbably ways.
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LibraryThing member meandmybooks
Oh my word! Hilarious and grotesque, often at the same time, this was unlike anything I've read before. Listened to, actually, and I don't know if I'd have enjoyed it nearly so much without the wonderful, perfect voices for the various characters provided by the Audible reader. Early on, I was
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afraid that all the characters would remain unappealing, but I ended up becoming quite fond of some of them. Anyway, this was unique and wonderful, and I now have Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy on my "to read" list..
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