A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Published: 1980

Genre: fiction

Length: 462 pages

Setting: New Orleans, probably 1950s

Interest: It’s a Pulitzer Prize winner

Summary: We follow a collection of individuals living in New Orleans, all centered around the character of Ignatius J. Reilly. There’s the policeman, Mancuso, who tried to arrest Ignatius, but ends up taking in the old man Claude Robichaux. Mancuso and his aunt become bowling buddies with Ignatius’ mother, and his aunt fixes up Mrs. Reilly with Mr. Robichaux. Then there’s Jones, a black man trying to avoid being picked up for vagrancy so he works for cheap at the bar where Ignatius and his mother spent a night drinking. Ignatius has spent much of his life contemplating writing a novel and going to movies to complain, but his mother finally decides it’s time for him to get a job. It does not go well. Ignatius’ idea of working in no way matches his employers’ expectations. Ignatius of course believes his opinions are the epitome of culture and everyone else is deluded.

Final thoughts: I enjoyed seeing all the connections between the characters, with Ignatius at the center of everything. He was a larger-than-life character in every sense of the word. He never just talked – he thundered and bellowed. And MY GOD – not THAT way, you imbecile! He was physically very imposing as well, mainly because he liked to drown his sorrows in food (which lead to very low profits when he was in charge of a hot dog stand). Everyone was a bit of a caricature, each in their own amusing way. Ignatius was probably my least favorite of them all because he was so abrasive, but I was always impressed how long he could get others to go along with his delusions.

Title comes from: All the characters together could be considered a confederacy of dunces

Awards won: Pulitzer Prize in 1981

Reading challenges fulfilled: 55/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and 12/12 in my Award Winning Challenge – won’t have any problem with this challenge this year!

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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