Recommended book: A Confederacy of Dunces

Read a Confederacy of Dunces if you’d like to meet the most odious character ever conceived: Ignatius J. Reilly.


Ignatius is a neurotic, overeducated, narcissistic, melodramatic, glutinous, deadbeat. He’s got it all. The novel revolves him and his attempts to gain and keep employment.

Some people don’t like books with unsympathetic characters. If you are one of those people, you won’t like this book.

What I find charming about this book is that the author, John Kennedy Toole, paints Ignatius as this unlikable ostentatious know-it-all; however, in order for Ignatius to know it all, Toole also had to. This means that this book was written by an exceptionally knowledgeable and intelligent person who could demonstrate that these traits do not necessarily make a person superior. This reflection is sort of poignant because Toole killed himself and this book was published posthumously. It won a Pulitzer and it’s actually funny, which are two real feats as I understand them.

Below I have quoted Ignatius for you.

“Apparently I lack some particular perversion which today’s employer is seeking. ”

“I doubt very seriously whether anyone will hire me…Employers sense in me a denial of their values…They fear me.”

“I mingle with my peers or no one, and since I have no peers, I mingle with no one.”

Thank you for reading.


One thought on “Recommended book: A Confederacy of Dunces

  1. Agreed. It takes a particular and rare effort to create a successful book with a not-so-likeable protagonist. Who knows what else Toole would’ve written? Maybe this was all he had, maybe not.


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