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Extended Audio Sample A Confederacy of Dunces Audiobook, by John Kennedy Toole Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.0000138051297 out of 53.0000138051297 out of 53.0000138051297 out of 53.0000138051297 out of 53.0000138051297 out of 5 3.00 (96,341 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Kennedy Toole Narrator: Barrett Whitener Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9781455173662
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A green hunting cap squeezed the top of the fleshy balloon of a head. The green earflaps, full of large ears and uncut hair and the fine bristles that grew in the ears themselves, stuck out on either side like turn signals indicating two directions at onceFull, pursed lips protruded beneath the bushy black moustache and, at their corners, sank into little folds filled with disapproval and potato chip crumbs.

So enters one of the most memorable characters in recent American fiction.

The hero of John Kennedy Toole’s incomparable, Pultizer Prize–winning comic classic is one Ignatius J. Reilly, an obese, self-absorbed, hapless Don Quixote of the French Quarter, whose half-hearted attempts at employment lead to a series of wacky adventures among the lower denizens of New Orleans. This book has become an American comic masterpiece.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A masterwork of comedy…The novel astonishes with its inventiveness, it lives in the play of its voices.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “If a book’s price is measured against the laughs it provokes, A Confederacy of Dunces is the bargain of the year.”

    Time

  • “An astonishingly good novel, radiant with intelligence and artful high comedy.”

    Newsweek

  • A Confederacy of Dunces has been reviewed almost everywhere, and every reviewer has loved it. For once, everyone is right.”

    Rolling Stone

  • “A corker, an epic comedy, a rumbling, roaring avalanche of a book.”

    Washington Post

  • “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…What a delight, what a roaring, rollicking, footstomping wonder this book is! I laughed until my sides ached, and then I laughed on.”

    Chicago Sun-Times

  • “The dialogue is superbly mad. You simply sweep along, unbelievably entranced.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A brilliant and evocative novel.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “The episodes explode one after the other like fireworks on a story night. No doubt about it, this book is destined to become a classic.”

    Baltimore Sun

  • “Barrett Whitener strikes just the right note of Rabelaisian iconoclasm. He does justice not only to each memorably drawn character but also to the witty, elegant writing."

    AudioFile

  • “The many subplots that weave through A Confederacy of Dunces are as complicated as anything you’ll find in a Dickens novel, and just as beautifully tied together in the end. But it is Ignatius—selfish, domineering, and deluded, tragic and comic and larger than life—who carries the story. He is a modern-day Quixote beset by giants of the modern age. His fragility cracks the shell of comic bluster, revealing a deep streak of melancholy beneath the antic humor.”

    Amazon.com Review

  • “A comic masterpiece that memorably evokes the city of New Orleans…Toole’s prose is energetic.”

    Library Journal

  • “A masterpiece of character comedy…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.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • Winner of the 1981 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction
  • A 2007 KLIATT Editor’s Choice Audiobook
  • The 2007 SoundCommentary.com’s The Best of the Best Editor's Choice Audiobook
  • Winner of the 1981 PEN/Faulkner Award
  • A Booklist Editors’ Choice, June 1980
  • An Audible.com Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cwrigh13 | 2/16/2014

    " best book ever. i have read it 3 times. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 al•veiz | 2/10/2014

    " Re-read it. Outstanding in Southern Humor literary genre. I don't much care for such things, but I recognize a commendable competency here. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen | 2/5/2014

    " Coompletely enjoyed this book. It is pretty off color, but gets funnier and funnier. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sarah Pavelko | 1/23/2014

    " Clever but just not my type of humor. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Daniel Demarle | 1/21/2014

    " A worthy read! The Characters are vivid, real, and memorable. Feels somewhat dated today. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kate Ayers | 1/21/2014

    " Read this one twice. There is always a new discovery to be had. Ignatius Reilly will go down as one of literature's truly messed-up characters. He is at once awful, pitiful, comical and tragic. I've heard speculation that the author patterned Ignatius after himself. If this story is at all autobiographical, then it would go a distance toward explaining the author's suicide. And the mother? Ugh. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Deb Callahan | 1/20/2014

    " Excellent descriptions and dialog. Hard for me to finish, I found it depressing. The author committed suicide after writing it. So, could be an insight into mental illness. Sorry! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jatin | 1/17/2014

    " what a terrible waste of time. repeating the same five unfunny jokes over and over again. only time I liked this book was when it was over "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Deanne Blackburn | 1/4/2014

    " One of my most favorite books of all time "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 1/3/2014

    " Being from New Orleans and my Brother having quoted from this book all the time - I had to read it - and it is just incredible - worth every minute and certainly worthy of a Pulitzer as I can totally understand where the Writer is coming from - sometimes. Steve M, B.A. J.D, Author "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryan | 12/29/2013

    " Read years ago and still consider it one of my favorites. Have it on my bookshelf just waiting to be reread "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michael Hohlios | 12/27/2013

    " Painful. TGIF - Thank god I finished. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kate Lindsey | 12/16/2013

    " Made me laugh out loud, many, many times. Sometimes all I had to do was look at the book and I would start cracking up! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 12/7/2013

    " My review is probably swayed by seeing a live reading of this with Paul Rudd & Will Farrell :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Renee | 12/3/2013

    " If you like quirky, you might like this. I lived in New Orleans while I was reading this, so I dug it. Definitely not for everyone. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachel Whaley | 10/4/2013

    " Funny, absurd, engaging, quotable. The characters are vivid, and their relationships and interactions with each other are what makes the book so great. I love the ending, it is the only one that would have been acceptable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alec | 6/27/2013

    " I never made it to the point where I found this enjoyable. someone explain what I'm missing. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Michelle Ruedin | 1/28/2013

    " Couldn't finish it. Hated all the characters and desperately wanted them to go away. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rose Neild | 1/17/2013

    " I enjoyed this book in many ways but it was hard to get into and there was lots of extraneous poorly connected musings (or did I miss the point entirely?)! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Owen Griffith | 1/15/2013

    " This is one of the funniest books ever. His character portrayals are spot on and remind me of people I know. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kara Yeoman | 5/22/2012

    " This author was going to be genius. RIP "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen Hearn | 3/1/2012

    " One of my favorite books ever! I have read it over and over. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sarah Clark | 2/20/2012

    " I'm sorry so many reviewers didn't appreciate this novel. I thought it was hysterical and finely crafted. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Richard Cole | 11/13/2011

    " My all time favorite book. Ixnatious, his friends, and family...remembering it now is like remembering a visit with old friends. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Camila | 5/21/2011

    " It's a little bit of a slow read, but it's hilarious!! I love the arguments and mannerisms. Ignatius is kind of a jerk, but he has his moments. I'm so glad my English teacher made me read this! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mr. Mullins | 5/20/2011

    " Such an odd character with an interesting insight into people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Travis7401 | 5/19/2011

    " This is the best book ever. That is all. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bridget | 5/18/2011

    " Didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Still worth reading, "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nathan | 5/16/2011

    " Ignatius K Reilly is a hero (antihero?) without equal. All that New Orleans could and shouldn't be - right here in one book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amanda | 5/14/2011

    " How sad that Toole committed suicide before he could realize his true potential as a writer. His cast of characters is amazing, offensive, surprising, and at times, simply hysterical. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karakas | 5/12/2011

    " I wasn't smart enough or literary enough to really get it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marikka | 5/12/2011

    " Hilarious. Have never laughed out loud so much when reading a book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Matt | 5/12/2011

    " Literally laugh out loud funny all the way through. Comic genius. "

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About the Author
Author John Kennedy Toole

John Kennedy Toole (1937–1969), a native of New Orleans, graduated from Tulane University and received a master’s degree in English from Columbia University. He taught at Hunter College, the University of Southwestern Louisiana, and Dominican College in New Orleans. After his death, his book A Confederacy of Dunceswas awarded the Pulizer Prize in Fiction in 1981.

About the Narrator

Barrett Whitener has been narrating audiobooks since 1992. His recordings have won several awards, including the prestigious Audie and seven Earphones Awards. AudioFile magazine has named him one of the Best Voices of the Century. He lives in Washington, DC.