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)
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.
"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.
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!
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!"
A lover of audiobooks of all kinds, since childhood, when long car journeys were accompanied by Discworld stories. @ReineDesLivres (Twitter)
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.
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.
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
“ ... 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.
I like to read about wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff.
This book is fantastic. The characters are well developed and the humor is intelligent. The main character is quite obnoxious and repulsive, and you love him all the more. There is not a centralized plot, other than the life of the main character. Normally I have a hard time with a book that is just about the characters...but not this time. Give it a try for a great comedy.
I've read the print version of this book about 7 times, but it's been about 15 years since my last read. I wondered if the book, with it's Crusade of Moorish Dignity and stereotypical depiction of gay men would still seem funny. It took me a little while to get into the story, but the Levi Pants Factory is still a very funny place, containing a kind but incompetent manager, a senile old secretary who sometimes neglects to change out of her nightgown before coming to work, a henpecked owner and the unappreciated (but apparently not overworked) factory employees. Ignatius' mother is voiced well, and the narrator does an excellent job with Jones, whose colloquial speech and "Wee-ooo" never sound stupid or subservient, but reveal him to be apparently the smartest man in New Orleans. Just as the last seven times I finished this book, I was sorry it was over.
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