Friday, December 17, 2010
Happy Birthday, John Kennedy Toole
John Kennedy Toole is, of course, best known for the wonderful novel he was unable to get published during his lifetime, A Confederacy of Dunces. I defy anyone to read Confederacy and then tell me that they will ever forget the book's main character, Ignatius J. Reilly. That is not to say that Ignatius is a lovable, or even a likable, character; it is simply to say that he is unforgettable because of his unique approach to life.
Note: Readers familiar with Confederacy might also want to find a copy of The Neon Bible, written by Toole at age 16. This one is no Confederacy, of course, but it is a rather remarkable effort for a 16-year-old high school student. Toole did not believe that the novel held up very well over the years and considered it to be an "adolescent" effort. I wish I were capable of something so "adolescent" today.