A Confederacy of Dunces

Author: John Kennedy Toole

Type: Fiction, novel

Published: 1980

I read it: July 2010


In the height of summer, I read this fictional account of a hapless New Orleans protagonist knowing that later I’d read some nonfiction about the city (Zeitoun), and I was also plunging into some crazy soap opera accounts of Louisiana that seemed to fit in with the sweat of my non-A/C apartment (True Blood). A Confederacy of Dunces was a pleasant read by the lake in 90 degrees, considering Ignatius J. Reilly spends most of his time dripping his fat way around the French Quarter while stumbling into one un-adventure after another. The humor is consistent and the characters colorful, but the book can be a bit of a dirge. If you’re in the right mindset, say Bukowski, or even Calvino as far as the searching city man goes, then this tale could do the trick for you. If nothing else, Ignatius is a rather unforgettable character, the type of person you’d only ever get to know in a novel, because you wouldn’t acknowledge or even notice his real-life counterpart in grimy avenues or stinking bedrooms.

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