Sunday, October 17, 2010
A Confederacy of Dunces
Classic; Pulitzer; Picaresque; FITG
Summary: I've tried describing this before to my friends but I don't think I'm doing a very good job. Basically Ignatius J Reilly is a lazy eccentric who is forced to get a job leading to a series of adventures involving many Characters.
Thoughts: I was excited to read this because it's one of my dad's favorite books and he's recommended it to me before. While I can appreciate its strong points, I don't think it's one of my favorites. For one thing, I prefer a main character I love and would want to hang out with. Ignatius Reilly had many interesting characteristics but I would never want to meet him. On the one hand, he's obsessed with the Middle Ages and thinks things would be better with an enlightened monarchy (I'm not saying he's wrong what with the way things are...) He is very educated with a graduate degree and he speaks far beyond the comprehension of the people around, which is very funny to read. On the other hand, he lies, he's selfish, and he's cruel to his mama among other offenses. So not someone I'd want to meet but someone who is a Character.
My favorite part of the book was how the disparate characters and earlier events tied together-I mean it's perfect. It's not like crazy coincidences as Dickens does but instances that logically follow the previous events. The part I didn't like was how intensely awkward some scenes were for me to read. I could not have read this book all in one go because I had to take breaks and distance myself from what was happening.
It's been defined as a picaresque novel which I always associate with Don Quixote. It's been a while since I've read that but I remember some of the occurrences escalating in a similar way so I can see it. For example, Ignatius has a simple office job before he decides that he will organize the workers at a factory which almost leads to a riot. It's amazing.
Overall: Intensely awkward at times, very funny at times with the perfect ending.
Cover: I found this cover weird at first but it actually makes perfect sense after reading the book.