A Confederacy of Dunces

Sep 23, 2013

A Confederacy of Dunces cover

Rating: 45

A Confederacy of Dunces is a Pulitzer Prize winning fiction book by John Kennedy Toole, posthumously published through the efforts of Toole’s mother after his suicide. For the background of the book’s difficult path to publication, the forward to the book by Walker Percy is really interesting.

The book itself is hilarious. It describes the adventures of Ignatius J. Reilly, an overweight 30 something year old (or at least that was my impression) who lives with his mother. I later learned that the book is a picaresque novel, a sub-genre depicting the satirical adventures of a roguish hero of low social class who lives by his wits in a corrupt society. Following Ignatius’s adventures often gives you that uncomfortable twinge of social awkwardness, similar to watching an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. The book is really well crafted, with many separate stories that all eventually tie together. Definitely a fun read.

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