A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter. His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).
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To be honest, though this is an amazing and opulent book, to someone who didn't grow up in New Orleans or didn't spend a considerable amount of time living there, much of the subtle humor and obscure references go unnoticed. I find this is the biggest reason for negative preception of thr book. However, though I am native to New Orleans, I have no problem reccommending this to friends and family, regardless of culture or location. Part of understanding the story is to understand the tragic life of John Toole, who took his own life after writing the first drafts of the book. This is a book about New Orleans, and the random yet intertwined people who live in it, but it's also a story about understanding platonic love, acceptance, nepotism, fear, and vunerability of the human mind and soul. Each one of us is Ignatius: brazen, headstrong, misguided, abiet alone. We first hate him, then pity him, then feel deep empathy for him, then cheer him on. In the end, it matters not whether Ignatius or his comrades have changed -- matters is what Toole's story changes in you.
A Confederacy of Dunces
Fantastic. Dark comedy. Shows how difficult it can be dancing to your own beat.
With charm beware
I submit to you the warmth of a book lightened in heavy words for the mind to ponder. A joyful read for the local being, and a sound explanation of crazy vs. sane. We may view ourselves as casual minds and normal dependencies, However Igneous lives in his own world that collides with ours. The twist of what is normal, and what is for scene as being normal variably gives us a new understanding that some of us are just plain different. Please don't turn a blind eye to those that are different, but rather embrace them as a new path of thinking and your mind will open new doors of thinking. db