The hero of John Kennedy Toole's incomparable, Pulitzer Prize-winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, "huge, obese, fractious, fastidious, a latter-day Gargantua, a Don Quixote of the French Quarter". His story bursts with wholly original characters, denizens of New Orleans' lower depths, incredibly true-to-life dialogue, and the zaniest series of high and low comic adventures.
©1980 Thelma D. Toole; (P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks
"Barrett Whitener strikes just the right note." (AudioFile)
"A Confederacy of Dunces has been reviewed almost everywhere, and every reviewer has loved it. For once, everyone is right." (Rolling Stone)
"What a delight, what a roaring, rollicking, footstomping wonder this book is! I laughed until my sides ached, and then I laughed on." (Chicago Sun-Times)
AudioBook Fan Extraordinaire
I read the book back in early 1980's, and now I have thoroughly enjoyed the audible version. What a wonderful job the narrator did of getting so many individual voices, sometimes in the same scene, and making them unique and enjoyable. The book captures many, maybe most, of the low-life New Orleans city living in the 1960's. I know because I lived there in the 1970's, and not much had changed. I have read a hundred reader reviews of this book, and the sum is this: if you like this sort of thing, then this is the sort of book you'll like. An anti-hero that has no redeeming qualities. A collection of characters all around him that are not much better. Even if you loathe the book, you'll come away with a feeling, "Well, I'm glad I'm not like THAT!" Just read it, it is one-of-a-kind.
I really loved feeling like I could trust the performer as much as I did the text. I had read the books a number of times, but felt like hearing it this time. I'm so glad I did!
The differentiation was impressive...and the accents totally believable.
It felt like Barrett Whitener was having a blast...and that means the world to the listener.
When we first meet our hero he is waiting for his mother in a store wearing his green hunting hat with green ear flaps. He is a very large man subject to internal attacks from his pyloric valve that lead to distinctive large, loud burps. In the store he gets into an altercation with the police in the form of Officer Mancuso, part of the menagerie of characters all vying for the title of the craziest human being on the planet. None of them are any competition for Ignatius.
Reilly is 30 years old and lives with his mother. He spends his time in bed writing a magnum opus on Big Chief note books in pencil and crayon. He is forced to seek employment when his mother steers her old Plymouth into a building incurring a sizable bill for the damages done. First he finds work at Levy Pants, an old family business on it's last legs. The owner, Mr. Levy and his wife are engaged in a constant battle as he neglects the business and she berates him about anything she can think of the more personal, the better. Ignatius leads a revolution of the work force who figure out he is crazy, stop demonstrating and go back to work.
He then moves to a career as a hot dog vendor. The high point of this career is selling hot dogs on Bourbon Street dressed up as a pirate complete with earring and plastic cutlass. He is less than successful since he eats not just the profits but all of the product he he can carry around in his mobile hot dog stand. All through the book he carries on a relationship by mail with Myrna Minkoff which could be styled the Marxist and the Medievalist with Myrna as the Marxist. Another fun spot is the House of Joy a B-girl bar whose owner sells porn on the side and pays a black man named Jones $20.00 a week to sweep up while he cracks jokes about his mistreatment. The narrator was excellent. All of the characters have great voices with very distinctive accents.
I could go on a lot longer but I think you get the idea. The book goes from very amusing to laugh out loud funny as Ignatius goes through the world in his own reality in a struggle with the rest of the world. He loses a lot of the battles but refuses to give up the fight. He speaks of the whims of fortuna and forges ahead. He not only refuses to conform he is horrified and angered that he is expected to. I recommend the book highly and am only saddened by the fact that it was the only book completed by the author during his adult life. He wrote one other book when he was 16 but it was not a work of humor.
Ignatius J. Reilly is utterly and hilariously unforgettable ... So disturbing is he that one wishes to look away, but cannot. A host of delightful characters brought to life by Barrett Whitener, who does John Kennedy Toole's one and only novel proud.
Non-stop laughs and great narration of character accents.
Ignatius' attempted coup of Levy Pants.
Colorful voices and accents.
Ignatius. It would be an unforgettably outrageous night.
The print version might be great, but for me the accents, the timing, and the emotions of the reading were part of what made it so wonderful!
Hmm. Ignatius because of his huge ego :D But I also loved Jones for basically saying everything he was thinking (which somehow never got him in trouble), poor Mansuko for being so hard working, Myrna because of how absolutely crazy she drove Ignatius from afar (also addressing her love letters with "Sirs:", and Trixie for sticking to her guns.
It was a super minor scene but I really enjoyed the picture of Myrna and Ignatius terrorizing that teacher and that college.
It took me 3 days of listening with a break day among them. It wasn't a compulsive read for me, but quite enjoyable nonetheless.
I rarely find someone else with as messed-up a sense of humor as my own. And to think I found out about this book entirely by accident, because I heard a biographer talking about its author in a podcast!
This book is essentially about New Orleans and its people and the narration brings every exquisite detail to life!
This novel is the most unique I have ever read. The main character is literally a huge personality that is both fascinating, horrifying and wonderfully entertaining. You will never encounter a group of characters like this.
Having been an avid audiobook fan for 20 years I have to say this is by far my favorite narration. It reaches heights of perfection that I didn't think were possible. Each character is perfectly rendered and I have listened to this audiobook about 12 times and always find more reasons to consider it to be the pinnacle of audiobook narration.
I thought the pacing was a bit slow in places vs. being read; but all in all it was a very entertaining read.
Mr. Whitener was a bit abrasive as some characters (Jones comes to mind--he kept saying "whoah!" EXACTLY the same every time. A little more variation would have been nice) but overall he did a very nice job. I don't expect accents to be perfect, but he did an admirable job of differentiating the characters in dialogue.
At first I found his impression of Ignatius to be a bit too "professional" sounding, but it really did grow on me.
This book is SO funny without really trying. Some books are very "in your face" or full of one-liners, but this book is hilarious because of the structure of the story, the creative characters, and the situations they find themselves in. They really should make the Will Ferrell movie already!
I love listening to audio books and reading books on my Kindle!
I have read this book countless times and have probably given away more copies than any other book. I love this book!
The audiobook experience with this is unbelievable! Barrett Whitener does an excellent job with the voices in this book. As a native of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I've spent a lot of time in the French Quarter and New Orleans. Mr. Whitener captures the dialects brilliantly! He makes you feel as though you are strolling along Canal Place with Ignatius.
This book will make you laugh out loud and you'll want to share it with everyone you know!
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