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Freewheeling Andy

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

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What exactly makes a "cult classic" into a cult classic? Is it that it treats obscure subjects? Is it that it offers an insight for those normally on the sidelines of society? Or is it that it's just not very good?

 

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole came in with spectacular recommendations from all kinds of sources (online dating women I didn't date, the blokes in Waterstones on Gower Street, old friends, newspapers), yet it didn't live up to the hype. Perhaps the joy of something like this is discovering it for yourself and discovering it's better than you were expecting. My expectations were perhaps too high.

 

It's not a bad book. Interesting, fascinating in places.

 

Ignatius J Reilly is the main protagonist, and in a cast full of horrors, such as the incompetent effete policeman who is forced to work in fancy dress, or Miss Trixie the decrepit, senile office assistant. Ignatius, though, is huge, fat, lazy, greedy, creates his own ailments, hates the modern world, and hides behind his mother. The book is, in most basic terms, how he is forced out into the world to work, and the destruction and havoc he wreaks as he continues his tirade against 20th century New Orleans and its vices.

 

The characters are big, the satire is strong, the comedy is there, but there was something soulless about the book to me, perhaps all the characters being slightly hateful.

 

The funny thing is that I think about what I've just written and it seems so negative. But I don't want to put people off reading the book, now I come to think about it. It's too interesting, and too different, to do that.

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Wow - I'm surprised no one responded to this. Well, sorry to bring back an old thread, but I'd like to see if anyone would better recognize this book four years later. :friends0:

 

This book was suggested to me on only the basis that "it was hilarious". That standing, I had no idea the world of weirdness I would plunge myself into. The best word to define the book by would definitely be "strange". It gets so strange, in fact, that it at times stops being funny and is instead just odd, even discomforting. However, it is certainly a humorous book. The wonderfully original characters and their antics alone are worth laughing at, and some of the situations Ignatious gets himself into are ridiculous (I will let you all discover yourselves how he comes to the conclusion that world peace can be brought along by homosexuals).

 

I certainly had a lot of fun reading this book, even while the characters could at times be distasteful. Personally, I rather enjoy stories with less-than-likeable characters, but that may be a bit of a turn-off to some readers. Even with that, though, it is still a fascinating story.

 

It's quite sad that Mr. Toole had to come to the end he did before he saw his work succeed. RIP John Kennedy Toole.

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I read this and really enjoyed it. Ignatius is such a bizarre and comical character! I want to re-read it one day as I had the feeling that I wasn't quite appreciating it enough when I was reading it.

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^I need to re-read it as well - I was rushing through it the first time I read it, and now I need to spend some time to absorb it all.

 

@Steve: lol, Fortuna... I'd forgotten about that! And I have yet to read The Neon Bible. I'll have to see if I can find that.

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I was wondering, has anyone read this book? If so, would you recommend it?

 

I ask because I've had someone tell me my writing reminds them of John Kennedy Toole and I figured I'd ask :readingtwo:

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