Confederacy of Dunces
by John Kennedy Toole
Membership in the COD Club is open to all who have read the above book and delighted in it. If you have not yet done so,
HIE THEE TO THY LIBRARY!
Or better yet, bookstore.
Some comments on COD, by members of Fictionchat and BookBarn book discussion lists:
From Joshua K:
Well, I finished COD today and now I have the very weighty decision of whether or not I'm going to petition for membership in the COD club. Forgive me if I ramble...
--I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting, but I didn't find it. There was no hip-slapping fits of laughter, no falling off my chair, no chortles, chuckles, or cheeky grins
--This is not to say I didn't enjoy it, I just didn't find it as funny as I was led to believe
Now, for what I did find...
--What no one told me is how much substance there was beneath all the humor. COD classifies as a truly American novel. IJR is the definitive outcast whose love for fellow outcasts (blacks, Jews, homosexuals) is evident in just about everything he does. It is here that Toole is incredible, playing to stereotypes while making the line between mainstream and outcast even more defined, because...
--COD is also a brilliant observation of American culture and what is commonly referred to as Americana. On one side we have the outcasts, always in trouble and occupied with struggle, and on the other side we have the mainstream, bowling and hunting down communists. Which leads to the ultimate question...
--Who is IJR? Or better yet, how am I like IJR? I absolutely love his obsession with movies and how he feels compelled to watch them just to see how bad they are. This is similar to my wathcing the E! Channel even though I have no interest in who wore what to the Oscars. IJR's fascination with the stomach-churning, valve-closing, scariness of American culture is brilliant and the source of the real humor. Allow me to quote from page 322:
"Do you know that a national home decorating magazine wants to do a four-page color spread on this building?" Dorian asked.
"If you had any sense, you would realize that that is the ultimate insult," Ignatius snorted.
--The only problem I had with Toole and COD is that throughout the book I felt as if I was witnessing all these events from on top of an astonishingly clear glass table, where I could make out all the action below me and fully understand what was going on, but just not "feel" it.
So, what I have here is my affadavit of eligiblity, proof of age, proof of citizenship, and photo ID...
Assuming membership in the exclusive COD club is not based solely on one's finding the novel hilarious, please count me in and graciously consider my membership. My wallet's got room for one more card...
View other comments -- and make some.
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