- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (30 Mar. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141182865
- ISBN-13: 978-0141182865
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (198 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,473 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Confederacy of Dunces (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 30 Mar 2000
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It's been hailed as a masterpiece and reviled as trash, but A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole has never been lightly dismissed. By creating Ignatius J. Reilly, a bigger-than-life bag of wind stuffed with some of the most comically outrageous and disturbingly insightful opinions ever put to paper, Toole made an indelible mark on the landscape of American literature--a feat recognized with the posthumous publication of this novel, followed by a Pulitzer Prize. Forced to wade the lower depths of New Orleans society, the gargantuan Ignatius, his poor mother in tow, takes us on a tour de force through the back alleys and juke joints of the French Quarter of New Orleans as he implores the gods, railing against the hypocrisy of contemporary politics and the crushing weight of late capitalism. "The luminous years ... dimmed into dross; Fortuna's wheel had turned ... Having once been so high, humanity fell so low. What had once been dedicated to the soul was now dedicated to the sale." Toole's suicide at 32 silenced a uniquely promising literary voice, denying his critics and fans the opportunity to determine whether his talent was a flash in the pan or a first spark of genius. Read A Confederacy of Dunces and you'll no doubt have formed your own inflexible opinion, which you'll defend tenaciously against all reason. --George Laney, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"What a delight, what a roaring, rollicking, footstomping wonder this book is. I laughed until my sides ached, and then I laughed on."See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Look out for Jones - Ooooeee, he ain't no vagran cawmniss. Just buy it, you won't go wrong.
Ok, some people will not find it funny no matter how hard they try - I mean, I just don't get how something like the comedy show, Little Britian, could ever become so popular. But I do think the majority of readers out there who want more than the latest Ben Elton novel or have already read Catch 22, won't just laugh at the way Ignatius J Reilly sees and interacts with the world, but will laugh so hard that you'll have to keep closing the book for a few seconds just to gain back your senses.
I've lent out and given away a lot of books to friends over the years, but none have done the rounds as much as this one.
There are some genuinely funny moments, and the storyline is structured along the lines of classical farce drama, with the unfortunate Ignatius spiralling downwards into an ever more precarious position, both socially and financially. Not that he cares, mind you – he has only entered the world of work temporarily and under coercive pressure from his mother, biding his time until his great social commentary modelled on the philosophy of Boethius propels him to prominence. I agree with one other reviewer that it is this latter project that makes the book a little turgid at times, when Ignatius casts down pages of vitriolic invective in his diary. These sections aren’t boring, but neither are they that funny, and the reader might be forgiven for skipping them to get back to Ignatius loudly criticising the latest film, or condescendingly mocking whomever he encounters that day.Read more ›
Swimming around this whale of a protagonist are a huge variety of secondary characters, and maybe there are a few too many. While some are excellent, like Ignatius's mother Irene, a woman on the verge of a nervous breakdown who is torn between the demands of her ungrateful son and the entreaties of her new friends who want her to get out and enjoy life, others are farcical to the point of being annoying. Mrs Levy, for example, is the wife of a rich factory owner who is so appalling that the character just ceases to be believable. There's also a long and colourful list of larger than life French Quarter personalities that are characterised with varying degrees of success.
With such a myriad cast, you feel that sometimes storylines have to be bent to crowbar characters into the plot and, again, it can descend into farce and become unnecessarily unrealistic. If you wanted to hide an illegal package, would you really stash it in the bun compartment of a total stranger's hot dog cart? This kind of thing can be a bit irritating. What is gripping, however, is the central thread of Ignatius, his mother and their immediate circle. Irene's friendships and love interests are genuinely touching, while Ignatius's irate correspondence with the "musty minx" a sex crazed anarchist from New York are hilarious in their eloquence and venom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel is like some kind of crazy cross between a Mel Brooks, Woody Allen and John Waters film. Someone should bring it to the big screen!Published 1 month ago by feline1
not a good read the book was for my husband he did not understand some of the words of slang in it.
John Kennedy Toole wrote this, his second novel, during the early 'sixties; unable to get it published, he killed himself, aged only 32. Read morePublished 1 month ago by J. Rottweiller Swinburne
This is *easily* the funniest book I've read. When I wrote, 'Of Madness and Folly', I intended to write a homage to this book and writ a similar comic tragedy. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Graham Old
Awkward reading - takes a while to get used to the main character. Such vivid characterisation - can't believe this was written in the early 60s, So far ahead of it's time - and... Read morePublished 3 months ago by AndyD
Fabulous book! I've read it more than once and get something different from it each time.Published 3 months ago by Louch