8pm, 11th August 2020 – A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

A picaresque novel by American novelist John Kennedy Toole which finally reached publication in 1980, eleven years after Toole’s suicide.

Reviews vary, from, “The rambling, hilarious saga of Ignatius J. Reilly and his battle against modernity and employment constitutes one of America’s very greatest comic novels.” to “A masterwork . . . the novel astonishes with its inventiveness . . . it is nothing less than a grand comic fugue.” 

Many don’t like it at all; famous editor Robert Gottlieb, best known for nursing Catch 22 to publication, turned it down. Saying in a letter to Toole

There is another problem: that with all its wonderfulness, the book – even better plotted (and still better plottable) – does not have a reason; it’s a brilliant exercise in invention, but unlike CATCH [22] and MOTHER’S KISSES and V and the others, it isn’t really about anything. And that’s something no one can do anything about.

We hope you’ll enjoy the challenge and look forward to seeing you on Zoom on the 11th!

Steve & Laura

Buy the book!

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