There’s not a single word to describe this novel, so I’ll try seven: outrageous, hysterical, brilliant, originally creative, goofy, zany. Of course, there are many more adjectives that can describe A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
While my reading tastes usually run to non-fiction and business books, I picked this one after Amazon recommended it while I was scrolling through other books (I don’t know whether to thank Amazon or be scared they knew I would like this).
Taking place in New Orleans, the story follows sardonic, boorish and cerebral Ignatius J. Riley from one adventure to the next. From the strip joints of Bourbon Street, selling hot dogs on the street, and convincing workers in a pant company go on strike, Ignatius’s path through the world is bumbling, outrageously funny, surreal, and tragic.
Toole also makes the many other colorful characters jump off the page with their vernacular, quirky personalities, odd habits, and intertwined stories. Some might find them irritating or annoying, but I loved their eccentricities and craziness. I loved the originality and creativity of the multiple plot lines and the characters. There were many times when I laughed out loud, rolled my eyes in disbelief or annoyance, and even squirmed in my seat at the awkwardness of the situation a character is in. The many emotions I felt while reading the book is certainly a testament to the quality of writing.
While I can’t ever say I’ll become an avid reader of fiction, I’ll certainly be more open to reading fiction (and of course with the recommendations from Amazon). I highly recommend this book for some great laughs, eccentric characters, and brilliant writing. I hope you enjoy it. And if life in the Big Easy is only half as crazy as reflected in this book, then I’ve got to go there soon.