Confederacy of Dunces

book-pic A coworker of mine lent me a Confederacy of Dunces by John Toole a couple months ago and I have been struggling for awhile to get through it. This probably wasn’t helped by the fact that the reading of this book was punctuated with book club books. In all honesty, I’m not even sure how to describe this book. It’s set in New Orleans and the characters are all nuts and the story line was rambling. I don’t know if I (or anyone else) could summarize the ‘theme’ or the ‘story line’ of this book. I strongly disliked the main character from the very beginning, with the disdain growing stronger throughout the course of the book. He is a vile character, puffed up on his own misguided ‘intelligence’. Actually, I didn’t relate or like any of the characters. This book won the Pulizter prize, and I guess you could say the writing style was convincing and intelligent, you certainly believe the characters Toole created really are as ridiculous and awful as he describes. His descriptions form very clear images of the characters in your mind. So from a writing standpoint, it was well written – I’m just not sure what the point of the book was. One reviewer on Amazon said, “This book is quite simply a comic masterpiece, a novel brimming with original characters, absurd situations, and at its heart a blustery, vulnerable mama’s boy named Ignatius J. Reilly. He is one of the most startlingly original characters in modern fiction, and his efforts at hitting the job market after his mother smashes their car will leave you in stitches. . . Trying to summarize the plot is impossible – the book cannot really be categorized.” Maybe the intelligence of the comedy was just lost on me, I didn’t find myself in stitches, just disgusted. 6/10

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