A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

76%

25 Critic Reviews

...the reader, by story's end, gets an answer to the novel's implied question. Just what good is a liberal education? It leads to the creation of books like Mr. Toole's.
-WSJ online

Synopsis

A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece. John Kennedy Toole's hero, one Ignatius J. Reilly, is "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" (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times).
 

About John Kennedy Toole

See more books from this Author
John Kennedy Toole taught at Hunter College, the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and Dominican College.
 
Published January 1, 1981 by Grove B-452, 1981. 352 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for A Confederacy of Dunces
All: 25 | Positive: 20 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

The novel can hardly contain burstingly funny Ignatius--and the mix of high and low comedy is almost stroboscopic: brilliant, relentless, delicious, perhaps even classic.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces | See more reviews from Kirkus

Blog Critics

Below average
Reviewed by Particleman on Dec 30 2003

...wading through Reilly’s tirades is starting to wear on me. He’s like a one-trick pony...I don’t often do this, but I gotta say it this time: avoid this one. It’s too much of the same thing.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces | See more reviews from Blog Critics

WSJ online

Good
Reviewed by Danny Heitman on May 16 2014

...the reader, by story's end, gets an answer to the novel's implied question. Just what good is a liberal education? It leads to the creation of books like Mr. Toole's.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces | See more reviews from WSJ online

Examiner

Excellent
Reviewed by Graham Hacia on Jul 25 2011

...he is a prophet of our times. John Kennedy Toole’s posthumously published masterpiece, A Confederacy of Dunces, vicariously dissects the status of America via New Orleans. His instrument for this discontent is delivered through the absurdly baroque rants, and strange misadventures, of his now iconoclastic protagonist Ignatius J. Reilly.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

The Independent

Good
Reviewed by ELIF SHAFAK on Mar 30 2012

'A Confederacy of Dunces' is a special book that I associate with coyotes and desert flowers blooming on the edge of the universe, between sanity and insanity, where we all proceed at a tipsy walk.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by BenML on Jan 29 2013

What I liked most was the dialogue. Every character is perfectly done, and their interactions are priceless. I was not kidding when I said I had ab cramps. Read this book when you are alone and far from others, lest you be thought a hysteric.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

BellaOnline

Good
Reviewed by Michelle Anne Cope on Jan 30 2013

I hate to spoil any of the plots, but I will say that the main and minor characters seem to trade places of importance on every other page. I liked the end; I just didn’t see it coming. When I finished, I kept thinking about what would happen tomorrow. It was hard to close the book on Ignatius and I often still think about him.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Book Buzz

Good
Reviewed by RAY CWIKLINSKI on Apr 02 2013

The book was a hilarious joy for me to read. My favorite character was Ignatius, obviously. His character works so well because he doesn’t have the inhibitions that seemingly hamper everybody else.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Women's Inc.

Good
Reviewed by Susan O'Keefe on Jan 30 2013

Plots thicken and additional puzzle pieces are added as a less-than-upstanding business, Night of Joy, sets the scene for mischievous gatherings...If the aforementioned seems quite ludicrous, the book is right up your alley!

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by billfranklin on Apr 30 2014

The confederacy is colored by an amazing array of characters...At end, A Confederacy of Dunces is an enjoyable and brilliant ride. You’d be a dunce to ignore it.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Curled Up

Good
Reviewed by Sharon Schulz-Elsing on Apr 23 2015

A Confederacy of Dunces is simply and insistently a great, perfect comedy of errors and airs, a farce of Olympic proportions.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

That's What She Read

Good
Reviewed by Michelle on Mar 15 2011

Equal portions hilarious and disturbing, A Confederacy of Dunces is a great example of farce set in modern times.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Brothers Judd

Above average
on Jan 30 2001

A great novel might well have been made out of these raw materials, had Toole lived and a good editor gotten ahold of him. But we'll never know. What we have instead is a very amusing, sometimes even laugh-out-loud-funny book, which adds up to less than the sum of its parts.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

http://www.bookdrum.com

Good
on Apr 23 2015

...for those that want it, A Confederacy of Dunces offers an antidote to the blandness of the workaday world.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Readings

Excellent
on Jun 29 2009

The genius of A Confederacy of Dunces is reaffirmed as successive generations embrace this extravagant satire. Adulation for Toole’s comic epic remains as intense today as thirty-five years ago.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Parental Book Reviews

Above average
on Apr 23 2015

The most accomplished parts of A Confederacy of Dunces -- and here perhaps Toole would have agreed, since one of his opening epigraphs alludes to it -- are the extremely skilful renditions of demotic speech, particularly black street speech...

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Inverarity is not a Scottish village

Below average
on Dec 02 2010

I think it's hard to be lukewarm about this book; either you're going to love it or you're going to think it was a waste of your time. I'm gonna go with "waste of time,"...Either you'll join the fan club, or at least you'll be able to say you read it.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

The Novel World

Above average
on Jul 28 2008

I really hope that anyone who has the book on their to-be-read list can find a way to nudge it up a couple of slots. The characters are endearing, you keep thinking, what is going to happen next? Oh no! why is he saying those things?

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Rivers I Have Known

Good
Reviewed by Amritorupa Kanjilal on Jun 13 2013

I could go on for pages about why I enjoyed Confederacy so much, but I’ll leave it to you to find out. Please read A Confederacy of Dunces ONLY if you are a fan of absurdity and pointless humour of both the high and low variety.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

InkSlinger Blog

Above average
Reviewed by THE INK SLINGER on Feb 22 2013

There’s no denying Toole’s talent as a wordsmith. He writes in a beautifully zany way, and the dialogue sizzles and snaps like bacon in a skillet...What I missed was the humor: and that’s not something you want to miss in a book that’s purportedly a laugh-riot.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Book Chase

Good
Reviewed by Sam Sattler on May 22 2007

By the end of the novel I even found myself liking the man despite his skills at so selfishly manipulating everyone around him...John Kennedy Toole was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for A Confederacy of Dunces when it was finally published. What a shame that he was gone too soon to see it.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Chicago Center For Literature And Photography

Good
Reviewed by Jason Pettus on Sep 23 2011

...A Confederacy of Dunces is a legitimate classic, if for nothing else the way its style and concepts have so thoroughly infiltrated our general culture by now, thirty years since its publication and now fifty years since its original penning.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Summer Reading Project

Good
Reviewed by Annie Smith on Apr 14 2013

If you like absurdity and uncomfortable humor, A Confederacy of Dunces is the book for you. This book does deserve to be in the top then, though.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Heaful of Books

Good
Reviewed by Anne Bennett on Aug 23 2013

There are so many funny lines in the book...Since finishing A Confederacy of Dunces my husband and I have continued to circle back and discuss/laugh about the book together. Now that we have read it we feel as though we have been inducted into an elite club, the Confederacy of Dunces club.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

RatRaceRefuge

Good
on Apr 23 2015

This review has attempted to describe some of the flavor of A Confederacy of Dunces but the only way to really appreciate this novel is to read it...For anyone who enjoys literate comedy, A Confederacy of Dunces should not be missed.

Read Full Review of A Confederacy of Dunces

Reader Rating for A Confederacy of Dunces
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 2502 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review
×