A Confederacy of Dunces

A Confederacy of Dunces

Book - 1987
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Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

"A masterwork . . . the novel astonishes with its inventiveness . . . it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue."-- The New York Times Book Review

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 ).

Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 1987, c1980.
Edition: 1st Evergreen ed.
ISBN: 9780802130204
0802130208
Branch Call Number: FICTION Toole John
Characteristics: 405 p. ;,21 cm.

Opinion

From Library Staff

List - Go-To Comfort Reads
JCLHebahA Jun 13, 2018

Mike finds A Confederacy of Dunces to be low-stakes, humorous, and comforting.

A dark satire of society isn't easy to make funny, but Toole's post-humorously released novel has been bringing laughter to many for nearly 40 years.

A popular Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy follows the adventures of New Orlean's lower denizens of the French Quarter.

Comment
JCLHilaryS Oct 13, 2010

My favorite book of all time. I have read it so many times and could sit down and read it again. Ignatious is completely irritating and has an ego that just won't quit. Somehow, even though you spend the book hoping he gets a good dose of reality, he becomes a likeable character.


From the critics


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f
Fiction_librarian
Sep 18, 2019

I first read this book in the 1980s sitting on the sofa next to someone from New York. I would laugh out loud, doubling over. He said he didn't remember the book being at all funny. He had lived nowhere near the south, I guess.

This is one of my all-time favorite books and one of the funniest I've ever read. I still vividly recall the characters.

m
melissupercool
Sep 18, 2019

This book is not for everyone; the humor is very specific. While I appreciate a little self-deprecating humor here and there, the plot is lacking and it was much to my own relief to have finally finished this book.
The main character is very dislikable. While some anti-heroes have their moments, this one does not. The ending is almost infuriating, because he doesn't get his comeuppance.
I kept reading and reading wondering why this book is a must-read. The vocabulary is exquisite and the scenarios interesting, but the characters weren't great enough for me, and that brought down the storyline. There's character development with pretty much everyone else except for the MC.

I think people who enjoy some fun vocabulary, dated storyline, and teachers trying to philosophize the hell out of this book will enjoy reading this. Otherwise, best to stay away for your own sake.

c
CMLPratt
Jul 05, 2019

The audio book is excellent. The narrator captures the different dialects and accents with impressive precision. The story is amazing in that I didn't care for the main character yet wanted to know what was going to happen next. Definitely worth a listen.

t
Truffalo
Nov 10, 2018

I could read this book much faster if only I could stop laughing out loud and stop losing my place on almost every page!

c
cgraham77
Jul 08, 2018

This book is hilarious. I’d been wanting to read it and finally had the chance. I gave it a 4-Star rating only because i can’t recommend it to certain groups of people (church friends, my in-laws, etc.), due to various crudeness, vulgarities, etc., (one scene in particular, regarding masturbation. I’ll spare you the details).

At any rate, I would say this book easily falls into one of my top 10. I can’t remember the last time I laughed out loud so much while reading. And because it’s such a fun and enjoyable read, it’s an easy read. It took me 3 days.

The protagonist (or antihero) has to be one of the most unlikable characters you will meet. A brilliant moron, or a moronic genius, whichever you prefer. There are a few slapsticky/campy moments, reminiscent of what was popular during that era.

As an aside, I think I’ve actually met a real-life incarnation of Ignatius J. Reilly, and if I ever see that man again, I’ll be forced to call the police.

3
303dog
May 29, 2018

Have to agree with Bisqit and Sonoraanne; could not get into the characters; had no desire to know what would happen next to any of them, even though I listened to about 2 of the 12 hours. Not recommended, not funny.

b
bisqit
May 07, 2018

I got through 3 chapters and still wondered, "How is this a Pulitzer Prize?" It did not capture my interest.

j
jmthornberry
Jan 24, 2018

Possibly the funniest book I've ever read.

m
Maoisdead
Sep 29, 2017

This is a sprawling comic novel full of unforgettable characters ridiculous situations and often insulting stereotypes. Published posthumously after the authors tragic suicide it nevertheless went on to win the Pulitzer Prize. But perhaps its greatest accomplishment is the main character Ignatius J Reilly. He is hard to describe beyond calling him a modern day Don Quixote, but with more flatulence. He is a man at war with the modern world, out of touch with his own emotions, manipulative, self-righteous, eloquent and insane. He is the swirling center of the book, but there are many others memorable characters. Set in New Orleans in the 1970's the novel is colorful. humorous and implausible, but you won't ever forget its scenes.

s
sess430
Jul 17, 2017

One of my all-time favorite books.

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melissupercool
Sep 18, 2019

melissupercool thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

Brown_Dog_365 May 19, 2012

Brown_Dog_365 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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kokosowe
Jul 16, 2008

Your total ignorance of that which you profess to teach merits the death penalty. I doubt whether you would know that St. Cassian of Imola was stabbed to death by his students with their styli. His death, a martyr's honorable one, made him a patron saint of teachers.
Pray to him, you deluded fool, you "anyone for tennis?" golf-playing, cocktail-quaffing, pseudo-pedant, for you do indeed need a heavenly patron.
Although your days are numbered, you will not die as a martyr–for you further no holy cause–but as the total ass which you really are.
--ZORRO

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