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A Confederacy of Dunces Audiobook

A Confederacy of Dunces

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Publisher's Summary

"A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at once." So enters one of the most memorable characters in recent American fiction.

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (3443 )
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4.3 (2337 )
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Performance
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  •  
    J. Lee California 02-14-13
    J. Lee California 02-14-13 Member Since 2016

    Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What a character!"

    Ignatius J. Reilly is one of the most interesting, fantastic and deluded characters in book I have ever listen to. As for me I am not aware of the intricacies of the New Orleans dialect and had no problems with the narrator. I was engrossed in the tragic and hilarious life of our victim of the conspiracy of the "dunces", he was so ruthlessly surrounded with. Funny, is a poor description of this tale, as the characters are both heartbreaking and humorous. I was not ready for the book to end and it is unfortunate that the author left this world without sharing more of his wit. At least we got this bit of his mind. Savor it.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 01-12-06
    Christopher Hamtramck, MI, USA 01-12-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Celebrate New Orleans"

    "Humor" and "award winner" usually do not sit right with most people when they are combined. A comedy rarely ever wins an Academy Award, and I don't recall any humorous writing to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Thus, this book is controversial simply because it won the Pulitzer AND it is entertaining. Don't let the dissenters get to you! Forget that this won a prize and just enjoy it. The characters, every single one of them, are fools in their own way. You have the overblown and fabulously lazy Ignatius, the main character, but you also have spoiled rich women, nasty old women, spritely gay men, clueless barmaids, boobish cops, and more. It all combines for what can best be described as one big romp.

    I do have two wishes, though. One, the narrarator for the most part does a great job with a very difficult read, but I wish there was more development in the voice of Ignatius. He seems to read him the same way no matter what is happening in the scene, and this got to be wearing on me. Two, the ending is gratifying (I won't give it away) but at the same time it seems to be the ONLY point at which any of the characters, save the Levy Pants owner, who changes or develops in the course of the novel.

    Overall, entertain yourself AND be proud you are listening to a Pulitzer Award winner.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer 02-14-12
    Jennifer 02-14-12
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    "Cringeworthy narration, Brilliant story."

    I've always loved this story, but the narration had me pulling my hair out after the first twenty minutes. The jokes are timed clumsily, the accents are awkward, and the pacing is off. Like Ignatius himself, this book rolls along with its own peculiar momentum, but this narration trips up at every turn. I waited a long time for this to appear on Audible; now that it has, I'm very disappointed. Please, please, powers that be, bring this wonderful book around again on Fortune's wheel and give it a new narration the second time around!

    37 of 44 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Mount Macedon, Australia 03-07-15
    Emily Mount Macedon, Australia 03-07-15 Member Since 2015

    A lover of audiobooks of all kinds, since childhood, when long car journeys were accompanied by Discworld stories. @ReineDesLivres (Twitter)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sublime. A perfect telling of this remarkable tale"

    There's something about Ignatius J Reilly ... He'll make you guffaw with laughter, choke with repulsion and, thanks to the remarkable talent of John Kennedy Toole, you might even find pity for him.

    This novel is astounding. It's such a tragedy that there were no more novels by Toole, who could have been a prodigious talent. However we have this title, and Ignatius is his gift to the world, and the world is much richer for it.

    You won't regret a moment spent listening to this brilliant audiobook; the narration is spot on, and the characterisations marvellous. Best enjoyed while eating a hot dog. Happy listening.

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Reston, Virginia 04-26-12
    Jean Reston, Virginia 04-26-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Narration HORRIBLE"

    Was there no one in the city of New Orleans qualified to provide narration for this wonderful book? As a native New Orleanian, I found not ONE of the characters to have an authentic accent of any social strata in the city. This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I must have been out of my mind to get the audio version, knowing that the accents might have been botched so badly. And his mispronunciation of place names was just salt in the wound.

    Please people, get the hardcover version, and try your best to forget what you just heard. As Ignatius would say, " Oh my GAWD!"

    35 of 42 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John New Orleans, LA, USA 12-11-05
    John New Orleans, LA, USA 12-11-05 Member Since 2010
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    "Dialect is all wrong"

    This is my favorite book. I usually enjoy Barrett Whitener's reading, but in "Dunces," he delivers a disappointing product. The book is so dependent on the dialects of New Orleans (my hometown), and Whitener mimics them badly. Somebody should have done some research: in N.O., Chartres Street is pronounced "CHAWT-uhs," not "shart." Next time, get a native New Orleanian to read it.

    16 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    attagrrrl Austin, TX USA 07-29-15
    attagrrrl Austin, TX USA 07-29-15
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    "Lively but inauthentic narration"
    Would you try another book from John Kennedy Toole and/or Barrett Whitener?

    The narrator does a good job of bringing life to the characters and distinguishing between the different voices. I only wish they had found someone who actually knows New Orleans accents or had at least been coached in how to pronounce the place names. Once you get used to the inauthentic accents, it's a pretty good listen, until a street name comes along, and then it's like nails on a chalk board.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ttim San Francisco, CA, United States 07-07-15
    Ttim San Francisco, CA, United States 07-07-15 Member Since 2009
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    "A GUBU book if ever there was one"

    The phrase grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented, which originates from irish political circles (google GUBU for more details), is a perfect description of this book.

    Indeed, the book itself is one of those which is difficult to define and you have to read it to experience it properly.
    The following adjectives may go some way to help describe the book:

    funny, off-the-wall, bizarre,quirky, weird.

    The book is populated with a set of strange "characters", all of which have strange stories to tell.

    While I don't think the book is quite a classic, it certainly merits a place on the fringes.

    The narrator does an excellent job in portraying the various extreme personalities the characters of the novel exhibit.

    4 stars - recommended

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Louis Pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-19-12
    Louis Pittsburgh, PA, United States 05-19-12
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    "A Perfect Performance, Equal to the Prose"

    “ ... with the breakdown of the medieval system, the gods of chaos, lunacy, and bad taste gained ascendancy.”
    - Ignatius J. Reilly

    The story of the book and its place in the American canon is well-known. Ignatius J. Reilly is a man of New Orleans and the 13th century. He has been called Don Quixote, but he is the windmill, leaving chaos in a swath larger than his blubbery odious arms.

    Two of the books characters are New Orleans and the New Orleans accent. It is the New Orleans of the 1960s, where one twisted wires until the television resolved itself into only two ghostly images, where nickels and dimes could buy things, and when pornography rhymed with photography.

    The introduction is by another son of New Orleans, Walker Percy, who tells the story of the novel's publication and praises the authentic dialogue and the portrayal of a black man in the 1960s as a man instead of a charcoal caricature.

    Toole's prefaces the novel with a quote from A J Liebling, the great New Yorker contributor, journalist and war reporter. Liebling cites the New Orleans accent--which is not antebellum julip tones but the clipped sounds of a working port, "closer to Hoboken".

    Without the right performance, this book fails, and this performance is perfect, from the port city clip to the black man standing up to his racist employer to Ignatius's own blustery indignant quaver.

    "Woof!"

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Jones 01-08-09
    R. Jones 01-08-09 Member Since 2016

    R.Jones

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible Ignatius Riley"

    No doubt about it, Ignatius takese some geting used to. But if you're a fan, you'll like this rendition of the novel. The reader is stellar, the voice characterizations are fabulous and bring the characters to life just as I imagined when I read the book the first time. At times repulsive, at others laugh out loud gut wrenchingly funny. Not for everyone one, but definitely my cup of tea. It's just a crying shame that the author wrote no other books. His death was a tragic loss to the literary world.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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