The Quagmire that is “A Confederacy of Dunces”

John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces is a quagmire of a book. confederacyHailed by many as an “original work of comic genius”, it remains, for me, a narrative weighed down by an irritating and unrealized protagonist: “Ho hum,” Ignatius yawned, exhibiting the flabby of his pink tongue. “Levy Pants sounds as bad if not worse than the titles of the other organizations I have contacted.” (61)

The prose are enigmatic, offering moments of vivid description only then to inevitably succumb to being awkward and tediously formulaic.

“What’s going on here?” a woman asked from the padded cart reuse leatherette door of the bar. She was a statuesque woman nearing middle age, her fine body covered with a black leather overcoat that glistened with mist. (23)

On this, my second attempt to read the book, I made it only to page 121: In my innocence, I suspected that the obscene jazz issuing from the loudspeakers on the walls of the factory was at the root of the apathy which I was witnessing among the workers.

Trapped on a distant planet, I might try again.Screenshot (522)

2 thoughts on “The Quagmire that is “A Confederacy of Dunces”

  1. You’ll be happy to know I gave up reading ages ago, presuming I could ever read to begin with. It requires leisure of mind, so the reader can escape into another (man’s/ woman’s) world. If becoming immersed in the story is to work, first the reader needs to buy into the author’s mind/thoughts, and so often, my mind wonders, I get thinking of something off track from the author’s intentions. I find reading helpful for getting going onto something else. It’s a kick starter, not to be taken seriously, or to heart. Leave that book down and go do something else.

  2. Are you crazy?!? Reading is vital to your humanity! The world of the novel is the world of our souls. Read this book now: “Stoner” by John Williams. I must insist!!!

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