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A Confederacy of Dunces
A Confederacy of Dunces
Author: John Kennedy Toole
Ignatius J. Reilly, a grossly overweight medieval scholar who lives with his mother, is forced to seek employment when she can no longer tolerate his laziness. His disdainful encounters with the modern culture of New Orleans, his habitual misunderstanding of its inhabitants (some of them no less eccentric than himself) and his often hypocritical...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780517122709
ISBN-10: 0517122707
Publication Date: 12/12/1994
Pages: 480
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 100 ratings
Publisher: Wings
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 1
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

Leigh avatar reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on + 377 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 18
One of the funniest, most inventive, outrageous, creative books I've ever read. This novel has the unique distinction of having a character that is despicable and loveable at the same time. If you don't believe that's possible, read this book and you'll know what I mean.

Now everytime I want to get out of doing work, I jokingly complain about a "valve" in my heart. But only a character as visionary and charismatic as Ignatius could actually pull that one off.
reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 10
An outlandish, hilarious novel made more bittersweet knowing the author committed suicide. After his death, his mother found this ms. and Toole's one and only gift to the world was published.

Set in New Orleans, our unlikely hero is an overweight, spoiled brat, living at home with mom - in his 30s. He imagines himself superior to everyone in the known universe, therefore, cannot besmirch his integrity by getting a mere job. He spends his days eating and thinking and eating until his mother gets fed up. "Get a job!"

He travels through a cosmos of vivid characters, garish drag queens, and hot dog vendors, in a bumbling and half-hearted job search.

This book is damned funny. Every time I read it, I laugh out loud. And I grieve that a such a gifted writer was filled with so much sorrow that before he found acclaim, his sadness spilled over.

You won't find this book on my shelf. Im'a keepin' it and gonna read it again.
reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
I read and re-read this book every few months and I always discover somthing new to laugh about. The most wonderfully eccentric characters I have ever come across. It pains me that the author took his own life and has deprived us of more of his brilliant work.
reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on + 459 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
This wildly inventive and amusing novel features one of the most unforgettable characters in modern fiction: Ignatius Reilly. He's a mammoth misfit Medievalist hilariously at odds with the world of the twentieth century, and his adventures take him to 'way down, to New Orleans' lower depths.
VeganFreak avatar reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on
Helpful Score: 4
Funny and smart. The protagonist is hard to like at first, but he grew on me.
He is a character that is hard to forget ("My valve!").

Overall it is a good story with quirky characters.

The book was published posthumously by the author's mother. Toole never got anything published during his life and committed suicide. It's unfortunate. I would like to have seen what other stories he would have written. Sorry to bum you out with my depressive, fun-fact.
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reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on + 11 more book reviews
Meh. OK, but repetitious and not always engaging. Thought the ending was lame.
kellilee avatar reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on + 66 more book reviews
I started this unabridged audiobook on my 24-hour roundtrip drive to my parent's house (Alabama to Texas) for Thanksgiving this year. I was looking specifically for a humorous novel and selected this one from the Good Reads listopia for Best Humorous Books. I was intrigued by the author's tragic story, the setting of New Orleans and the fact that the book was first published in 1980 by LSU Press (my alma mater). The first 1/3 of the book was laugh out loud funny but as the story progressed, the humor grew stale. As the book came to an end, I wondered whether its Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was a bit misplaced or was based, instead, on the incredible story surrounding the book instead of the book itself. I do, however, agree that the depiction of New Orleans was outstanding and the city truly served as a character in the story itself.
reviewed A Confederacy of Dunces on
I love this book but some people hate it. depends on taste. either way, i would def say this is a book to read before you die. haven't read anything else like it.


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