Twas a long time ago that I read a review of a book called A Confederacy of Dunces,confederacy it was about how Will Farrel was considering a movie remake of the book.  At the time, I knew nothing of the book and so read a quick review.  It was praised as one of the most humorous and well done books of all time for comedy.

While down in Southern California on a business trip (Irvine specifically) I finished the last book I was reading incredibly fast, on the way down there actually.  Much faster than anticipated.  So I was left looking for something new to read and had no clue what to get.  In the “Popular Summer Reading” lo and behold up popped this book and its incredible cast of characters.

The biggest character is Ignatius J. Reilly.  He is an oafish scholar of Tulane who lives with his mother and refutes the expectations that modern society has so viciously put upon him.  His speech is pronounced and often of haughty  superiority with a vocabulary meant to shake even the most sophisticated of well reads.  He is also a lout, an incredibly selfish and even mean individual at times.  His very existence is a dichotomy of hypocrisy.  The book revolves around him at first, but as it proceeds other masses come into orbit.

There are many interesting characters here.  Ignatius’ mother, ill prepared employers of our selfish protagonist, local business keepers and random workers therein.  But each is well written and in depth with a head of their own.  Development of the subplots is always twisting and turning and the ability of John Kennedy Toole to paint a picture of a scene and the disparity in perspective never wanes. Perhaps his impeccable use of dialogue and alteration in character dialect is the book’s greatest strength.  It’s something to behold, for certain.

This is not a book that everyone will love.  It is not short and there are points in the book that are dabbled with long written letters from Ignatius (or others) which are more like James Joyce than the sharp witted banter akin to some Shaw plays, which is how the faster moving pieces of the book assemble.

The saddest point in this story is that our author, Mr. Toole, would only finish this one book.  He committed suicide at 31.  A Confederacy of Dunces won the Pulitzer Prize in 1981.