25 July 2007

Review: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole book coverThe reason I chose this book initially is that it was written in the 1960s and tragically the author committed suicide in 1969 at age 32 without it ever being published. His mother found the manuscript and pounded the pavement to get a publisher to read and publish it. The novel went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, and has now become a classic.

Given that I generally don't read books written in the 60s (unless it's a classic), and avoid any book claiming to be 'funny' for fear of cringeworthy slap-stick humour that is ha-ha funny, I was more than pleasantly surprised to find myself totally engrossed in this book!

The wit and vocabulary of Ignatius Reilly had me laughing at almost every page, wishing I had his talent for speech and conversation. Ignatius is almost an anti-hero; he is fat, lazy and full of excuses, however somehow I was cheering for him and his eccentric ways.

I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who appreciates this kind of humour. (I tried to find a good quote from the book to include here, but I couldn't choose, and you really need the context to appreciate the humour).

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Tracey, can you clarify your 'Don't read books written in the sixties' comment. Does this mean that you will still read stuff that is written in the 50s and 70s?
    Just asking is all, I think for anyone to ignore Ken Casey et al is a crying shame.......

  2. Ooops, didn't mean to post that anonymously. Like to own up to my actions.

  3. (Wow, how exciting to get some comments!!) After running off to Amazon to check out who Casey is, I agree my comment may have been a little 'cuckoo'. Let me clarify a few things. 1.I don't remember the last book I read that was set in the 60s, although I never really check when it was written. 2.I prefer to read books set in medieval times, or in present or sometimes in the future. I'm generally not interested in reading books (or watching movies for that matter) set during 1920 - 1979. 3. The exception here though are the classics. I usually try and read some classics during the year, and then allow myself some trash or popular fiction in between. What is your favourite book/s? Any recommendations?

  4. Well...... I guess I also enjoy Stephen King a lot, although I think his writing really went downhill about the time he brought all of the 'Wizard of OZ' stuff into the Dark Tower volume 'Wizard and Glass.'
    I love Ian Banks (the whole 'socialism in space' thing of his sci-fi really works for me and his other 'real life setting' stuff is just awesome.
    I'm no longer so obsessed with Bukowski, although I would still regard 'Ham on Rye' as my favourite book, and I like his friend John Fante just as much.
    Really though, with an active 4 year old climbing all over me most of the time I find it pretty hard to get through much these days. I re-read Johnny Rotten's biography 'No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish' the other day but I'm finding a lot of my windows to enjoyment a bit smeared or downright slammed on my fingers at the moment.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!