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Monday, August 07, 2006

John Kennedy Toole

I first heard about John Kennedy Toole from a friend of mine. More specifically, I heard about his one successful novel, A Confederacy of Dunces. She hailed it as the funniest book she had ever read. My husband soon read it and similarly praised it.

For myself, I never started it. They both said it could be incredibly cruel and that is was the mocking that made it so funny. That's not a humor that I typically enjoy much, so I chose to pass on it.

After reading a bit about Toole's life, it's a little easier to understand why he might write in the absurdist cruel style. He's not someone whom life treated very kindly. He had a smothering mother who wouldn't let him play with other children because she didn't want them to taint his genius. When he couldn't get his book published, he eventually committed suicide.

I do pity the man, but I think I shall still pass on A Confederacy of Dunces.

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