Length: 429 pages
About: Eloquent, unemployable obese New Orlean
Style: 1st & 3rd person
Where: US (New Orleans)
Meet Ignatius J. Reilly: flatulent, eleoquent and pretty much unemployable... The ordinary folk of New Orleans seem to think he is unhinged as well. Ignatius ignores them as he heaves his vast
bulk through the city's fleshpots in a noble crusade against vice, modernity and ingnorance. But his momma has a nasty surprise in store for him. Ignatius must get a job. Undaunted, he uses his
new-found employment to further his mission - and now he has a pirate costume and a hot-dog cart to do it with ...
Ignatius himself was dressed comfortably and sensibly. The hunting cap prevented head colds. The voluminous tweed trousers were durable and permitted unusually free locomotion. Their pleats and
nooks contained pockets of warm, stale air that soothed Ignatius. The plaid flannel shirt made a jacket unnecessary while the muffler guarded exposed Reilly skine between earflap and collar. The
oputfit was acceptable by any theological and geometrical standards, however abstruse, and suggested a richer inner life.
... John Kennedy Toole, killed himself because his novel was rejected and won a posthumous literary prize for it... Toole's commedia is witty, exuberant, broad-humoured and addictive. The author
has a perfect ear for street language and the absurdity of local slang. He treats gutter and parlour life with equal gusto and compassion. The city of his birth (New Orleans) has received a mocking
eulogy fromn the best writer it has bred in decades.
The Times, Andrew Sinclair, 4th June 1981
Not so good:
I know I'm out on my own on this one, but I detest this book. I really think it glorifies whining to an extent never before seen in the human condition. Everyone I know loves this book, and I know
I am in a minority here. But Christ... That this book is so popular with people in my age bracket and not so popular with people older or younger really makes me wonder if it is part of the problem
or a reflection of the boring, whiny apathy of my generation. But if this book has any redeemable aspects at all, it is that it highlights just how lazy and worthless my generation is. It's reflected
in the reverence people my age give this book, a book whose central lesson seems to be "whining is funny, and doing things is bad".
Nathan's Review/ Good Reads 2007 (click here to see full review)
About the author
Born in New Orleans in 1937 and died in 1969. He received a master's degree in English from Columbia Univeristy and taught at Hunter College and at the University of Southwestern Louisana. He
wrote Confederacy of Dunces in the early sixties and tried unsuccessfully to get his novel published; depressed by his failure, he committed suicide. After his death his mother got the book