This is one of the funniest novels I have ever read. In my opinion it ranks alongside Catch-22, Breakfast of Champions and A Frolic of His Own in terms of both laughs and the sheer class of its writing. Ignatius J. Reilly is of course a mammoth fictional character, in every sense of the word, but he is only part of a brilliantly etched cast, whose words and actions spring forth from the page. In terms of sheer destructive farce only Don Quixote comes close (but even that classic doesn't feature it's hero selling unhygienic hot-dogs in a ridiculous pirate costume; attracting tourists and homosexual admirers). For years this brilliant book remained unpublished and ignored by that ever-so-sharp rabble that we call agents and publishing houses (yes, the same ones who ignored Catch-22 for over 2 years). Due in part to this ignorance the author committed suicide. And it is this tragedy that, in part, colours Reilly's adventures with a certain sense of sadness. Along with the realization that, as you laugh at this book, the author would never write another. However, before things get too maudlin, let me just say this: buy it, read it, love it.