A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

Review by Gabriel

A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A book is a bit like a conversation.  A long, considered conversation in which an author artfully reveals their views on a theme, and the world.  A Confederacy of Dunces is like a conversation with a smug, negative, self-satisfied arsehole who can do nothing but sneer at the world.

The main character is a fat, lazy, pretentious mamma’s-boy.  The other developed characters are equally despicable.  The rest of the cast is made up of one note parodies.  I can’t be bothered going into the details of the plot.  It’s supposed to be satirical and funny, but it isn’t, it’s just boring since I didn’t sympathise with the characters, and nothing is taken seriously.  It’s a shame, because the author has some writing ability.  He has a knack for voice and characterisation.  But this novel has no heart.

I’ve slogged my way through some hard books.  I almost got to page 200 of the Penguin Classics version, realised I wasn’t even half way through, and quit.   Forget you, A Confederacy of Dunces.  Life is too short for arseholes, and there are lots of good books to read.

I’d love to hear from someone who enjoyed this book, and wants to tell me why.


2 Responses to A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

  1. This book is a trap.

    The introduction is this odd little tale about an editor who is approached by a woman who says: ‘Hey, my son — who is now dead — wrote this awesome novel and you should read it and publish it.’ The editor is sceptical but then reads the opening paragraph, discovers that it’s good, and continues to read this classic, classic text.

    I want to know where the freak that really good paragraph and classic, classic text went, because it certainly didn’t follow the introduction.

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