Not quite a Dunciad

23 02 2008

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Dunce

One of those books which seems to divide opinions rather starkly and clearly not everyone’s cup of tea. Ignatius Reilly, an intelligent and idle fantasist who lives with his mother in New Orleans, gets into all sorts of bizarre scrapes in trying to survive in the sort of contemporary world of work. A truly original creation, Reilly nevertheless irritates as much as he entertains, not just his family and everyone he encounters, but the reader too. I imagined him as a John McCririck without the wit and charm combined with the haplessness of Larry David.

Having said that, he remains a marvelous creation and some of the events which befall him are genuinely amusing. But at the end there really isn’t enough to justify really outstanding cult status here (apart from the tale of the author’s suicide and posthumous publication).

3 star

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One response

25 02 2008
caseyleaver

I was definitely on the irritated side of this fence. Firstly, the character just annoyed me, and secondly, if memory serves, it reminded me far too much of James Ellroy (who I find practically unreadable).

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