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By now, the tale of Toole's sprawling comic novel of New Orleans, A Confederacy of Dunces, lives on as a modern literary legend. A young novelist writes what he thinks is his masterpiece, is rejected by a famous New York publisher, and commits suicide only to be published posthumously and win the Pulitzer. But in this almost hagiographic account, first-time authors Nevils and Hardy reveal a story that is not quite so simple. Raised in New Orleans by a mostly distant and later mentally disturbed father and a clinging mother, Toole developed the love of reading early. When he finished Confederacy, he sent it to Simon and Schuster, where the famous Robert Gottlieb championed the manuscript and encouraged Toole to make some changes so that the book would be more publishable. Toole refused, asked for the manuscript back, and eventually descended into depression and paranoia, blaming Gottlieb for the novel's failure. After his death, his mother urged Walker Percy to publish Confederacy. The rest is history. Here, mother and son seem to have stepped right out of the Southern Gothic of a Tennessee Williams play, but this is a sad tale of one family's descent into despair and lonely ascent into posthumous fame. Recommended for most collections, especially where Confederacy is popular. Henry Carrigan, Lancaster, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
I really, really wanted to enjoy this book. However, the writing is about what you would expect from two women (who remarkably resemble Mrs. Read morePublished on March 24 2004
I've heard it said, "How said that we are cheated out of what Toole 'might' have written had he not taken his own life." I, too was depressed by this thought. Read morePublished on March 4 2004
Probably the best the authors could do given the circumstances. Great character description (esp. Thelma). Very interesting Belushi anecdote.Published on Aug. 10 2003 by K. McNamara
Any fan of Confederacy of Dunces should naturally have an interest learning about the author, John Kennedy Toole. Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2002 by Chris Frost
This is a mostly sad tale about a very talented writer. It really shows the dominace his mother had over him and how conflicted he was about who he was, which in the end was... Read morePublished on April 3 2002 by M. Pickering
This book was a terrible disappointment. The authors are apparently barely literate. How the heck did they get a book contract? Read morePublished on Dec 21 2001 by Roy Sherwood
A boring life makes for a tedious bio. And the lack of an index is inexcusable.Published on Oct. 10 2001
Ever since I read "A Confederacy of Dunces" and heard the legend about how it got published, I have been interested in the character of its author. Read morePublished on Aug. 29 2001 by debra crosby
I've waited a long time to learn more about the enigmatic and very talented John Kennedy Toole who wrote my favorite humorous novel, A Confederacy of Dunces. Read morePublished on Aug. 14 2001 by Leona Lee