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A Confederacy of Dunces | [John Kennedy Toole]

A Confederacy of Dunces

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.
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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

3.8 (2080 )
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4.2 (1081 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    TypicalConsumer Austin, TX USA 01-11-09
    TypicalConsumer Austin, TX USA 01-11-09 Member Since 2014

    gets

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    "Bumptious, Noxious, Fractious Ignatius J. Reilly"

    "When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him."
    - Jonathan Swift

    'Confederacy' is one of my top-5 favorite books - both in print and audio. I just finished my second 'listen', and am amazed at the book's ability to make me laugh and wince in equal measure. To those who have tried this book but put it down unfinished, give it another chance. It is meant to be experienced in a visceral way, much like New Orleans itself. Someone once said that upon returning home to NO, he had to find a bowl of great Red Beans & Rice and eat it right away, to get back into the funk of his town. Ignatius Riley is part of that funk, with his troublesome valve, inexorably obese body, and unbelievably overwhelming hubris.

    Mr. Whitener is spot-on in his narration. He truly brings Ignatius to life, is great with the supporting cast of characters, and the ironic tone of his Narrator is perfect.

    If only the Coen brothers would get the movie rights, and cast Philip Seymour Hoffman as Ignatius, my world would be complete. Surely their combined genius would please even the dimmest confederacy of dunces.

    11 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake 04-05-06
    Blake 04-05-06 Member Since 2005
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    "Amazing Audio Performance"

    I read this book about 15 years ago and loved it. It is filled with fantastic characters (in both senses of the word) and even better dialog. It is really the dialog that carries the book for me.

    I wanted to reread the book and when I saw it was available in audio book format I jumped on it.

    The audio version is unbelievably wonderful. While it is not a dramatized version you almost feel that it is because of the PERFECT voices used for the characters. You really get the feel for the personality of Ignatious (the main characther).

    I cannot reccomend this highly enough for fans of quirky fiction. This is a perfect audio adaptation of an already great book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan St. Louis, MO, USA 11-28-05
    Susan St. Louis, MO, USA 11-28-05
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    "Insanely Funny"

    This is one of those books I'd always heard the title of bandied about and never picked up. Now I feel like I am the last person in the world to be let into the secret society of Ignatious J. Reilly's fan club! This book is hilarious - more so for all the protaganist's horrific flaws, and for how the listener can shamefacedly see those flaws in her own life. This reading was very well done - I sat in front of my computer and laughed out loud. I want to listen to it all over again!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    10-12-05
    10-12-05 Member Since 2012
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    "Why God made audio books."

    What a wonderful experience! A delightful book and so expertly read. Listening to this book reminded me of something we used to call "radio". I've listned to many books and in this one each character was expertly rendered and captured.
    And the story itself is captivating. It has humor galore and a bit of suspence as well. I fully agree with the opening narration that the loss of the author is a double tragegy: for his own death and for the world to lose any future books. I'd read more in a flash.

    3 of 3 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!"

    16 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Lee California 02-14-13
    J. Lee California 02-14-13 Member Since 2013

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

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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.

    2 of 2 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!"

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy 04-12-12
    Tracy 04-12-12
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    "All Time Favorite ruined by bad narration"
    What did you like best about A Confederacy of Dunces? What did you like least?

    The story is fantastic, very funny and intelligent - the Narration is horrible and completely ruined the book for me - please just read this and don't waste your time listening!


    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica noblesville, IN, USA 07-11-09
    Jessica noblesville, IN, USA 07-11-09
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    "Brilliant"

    I admit this book is not for everyone, but those who get it love it. I've read the book as well as listened to it and cannot get over the brilliance of the dialogue. I think we have all met at least one person like Ignatius in our lives. Pompus, self righteous, and completely clueless. The main character is someone only his mother could love and by the end of the book even that is in question. That's what makes this book so unique, we are not cheering for the main character. The narration was different than I had imagined in my reading, but enjoyable none the less. This is a book I buy copies of just to give to others. I love it. It is too bad it is all John Kennedy Toole left us with, but I am thankful that he did.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter Loewenstern 02-10-09 Member Since 2014

    Walter L.

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    "The funniest book I've listened to in a long time"

    You may not like this book if you are offended by ethnic stereotypes (Black, Catholic, Jewish, southern, police,intellectuals), but I found the book hilarious. The author skewers everyone including the police and the city of New Orleans. it is too bad this is his only book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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