Sunday, January 17, 2016

On Constantinople Street . . .

While in New Orleans for Wizard World Comic Con, I decided to stop by Octavia Books, a place I hadn't visited in several years, a as a nice break from superheroes, the many forms of Kylo Ren (LOVE HIM!), and Pop Dolls (finally purchased one - I know, right?!). While browsing around, I noticed many copies of A Confederacy of Dunces by the late John Kennedy Toole and I grinned. For several years, I have had friends tell me that I needed to read this book, seeing as how I love New Orleans so much. Five minutes later, a purchase was made and I was off to explore Magazine Street.

When I finally sat down to read the book, I had no idea that I would get hooked so quickly. This book is a comedic genius, all printed off nicely to make the reader laugh out loud, shake their head in wonder, and even pause reading to ask, "did I really just read that?!" Although I have read many books, this book made me go WTF on several occasions; even when I closed the book, I had to say it again. However, I will freely admit - you need to read this damn book!

Ignatius J. Reilly of Confederate Street in New Orleans is a Don Quixote of the South; aloof, brash, idealistic, mentally questionable, and very, very fat. He lives with his mother who is a bundle of frayed nerves and the two of them consistently battle it out with words and empty threats. However, when a police officer is set to arrest him as he is waiting for his mother outside of a department store, the dominoes so lovingly placed have now begun to fall  - let the impossible and improbable begin!

1960s New Orleans seems to be no different than the New Orleans of today, complete with colourful characters and the flavour of the decadent, the perverse, the sublime, and, according to Mr. Robichaux, the communiss. Ignatius, in his never ending struggle against the moral depravity of the world, is clearly an Emperor who refuses to believe that he is naked. He see himself as the saviour of the world, not caring whether or not if it wants to be saved. From the dottering Miss Trixie with her lethal false teeth, to Jones and his plans of sabotage (Ooo-wee), to Officer Mancusco and his many disguises, to Darlene and her chance at the big time, these characters and many others provide the perfect balance to Ignatius and his "attempts" to educate, re-purpose, and establish his ideas that are "clearly" above the average thinker.

Thanks to all those who told me repeatedly that I needed to read this book. My life will never be the same again.

Oh yeah, for the record: I have eaten a Lucky Dog, but it was many, many years ago.

I don't really plan to do it again.


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