John Kennedy Toole

"A Confederacy of Dunces"

(Reviewed by Judi Clark MAR 1, 1998)

"After his fourth hot dog, Ignatius ran his magnificent pink tongue around his lips and up over his moustache and said to the man, 'I cannot recently remember having been so totally satsified. I was fortunate to find this place. Before me lies a day fraught with God knows what horrors. I am a the moment unemployed and have been luanched upon a quest for work. However, I might as well have the Grail set as my goal. I have been rocketing about the business district for a week now. Apparently I lack particular perversion which today's employer is seeking.'"

A Confederacy of Dunces

Ignatious J. Reilly is the hero of this tragic-comical novel. Some hero. Ignatious is truly pathetic, arrogant and pretentious.  He regards and treats everyone and everything with haughty contempt. Whatever he does not outright disdain, he finds room for plenty of criticism (humorous at that). He sees himself as the "Don Quixote of the French Quarter." He still lives with his mother, spends his time writing his magnum opus and only finds a job after a series of events. First, at the Levy Pants Company where he eventually gets himself fired through his own folly and then, as a Paradise Hot Dog Vendor which turns out to be equally disastrous. Ignatious has a logic all his own. 


A Confederacy of Dunces bursts with original characters as it romps about New Orleans lower depths with zany scene after scene of high and low comic adventures. This is one of my top ten recommended must reads. It's a classic.

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About the Author:

John Kennedy Toole (1937-1969)John Kennedy Toole committed suicide in 1969 at the age of thirty-two.  His mother found his manuscript and nagged publisher Walker Percy until he finally read it. This novel went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1981 and has sold over three-quarters of a million copies. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014