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A Confederacy of Dunces

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I enjoyed the book for the most part but wasn't necessarily blown away by it. The first third, where we are introduced to the wonderfully grotesque globule of man known as Ignatius . J. Reilly, was a lot of fun to read. This man just utterly overwhelms you with his absurd, pompous affectations and over-the-top character. Then, however, I found my interest slightly waning, especially when we're introduced to the rather pointless characters (if you ask me) who frequent the 'Night of Joy' club such as Lana and Darlene and (worst of all) Jones. All he does is sweep the floor and say 'ooo eee' over and over. It's easy enough to read and has a lot of chapters predominantly filled with dialogue rather than narration, and occasionally there are some long, and very boring letters to and from his friend Myrna which I hated. The truth is the plot of this book (which only tangentially requires the involvement of the other characters) is rather unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. This book is about the amazingly outlandish Ignatius. He is the book.

And that's kind of why the book ultimately fails for me. As comical and mesmerising as he is, the man is an altogether unrealistic individual whose personality dominates all aspects of the plot. As a result, the plot therefore becomes redundant. Frankly, who cares about the pornography scam, or the need for policeman Mancuso to get an arrest under his belt, or 'Levy Pants' being sued. None of it matters. All that matters is Ignatius. He is simultaneously the best thing about the book but also the reason it feels ultimately... inconsequential.

The truth is, we rarely meet people like this in real life. The whole book feels like a collection of buffoonish clichés and convenient plot points, all in service of this obese and pretentious oaf. Sorry, but that isn't enough for me. I need literature to have something more to it than a clownish character who belongs in a Looney Tunes cartoon.

Not a terrible book by any stretch. But not remotely worth the praise either. I read through it rather quickly and found it mostly inoffensive.



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