18. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
John Kennedy Toole is both the cautionary tale and the patron saint of unpublished great authors. That said, A Confederacy of Dunces is ridiculously good. I did spend quite a bit of time wanting to smack the characters and tell them to snap out of it ala Cher in Moonstruck, but that happens nearly every time I visit New Orleans anyway. And I do know someone who is somewhat like Myrna in real life and I want to smack her as well. Beyond urging me to hit things, I recognize a lot of what New Orleans has been to me in this book. I’m still waiting to see the romanticized goth kids of Poppy Z. Brite and Anne Rice or Anne Rice’s linen-pants wearing vampires and the smells are not as fragrant as they would have you believe. I always notice a new smell every three feet on Decatur Street, my favorite part is the section that always smells like cake (I cannot figure out what’s causing that). But Ignatius-style craziness and bad smells and those people who are having a drink, being an artist, and giving you life advice from the end of the bar, those I’ve seen quite a few times. There’s also the people who are left out from the craziness, but they aren’t quite represented in the literature about that city yet. Actually, my favorite character in A Confederacy of Dunces is someone who I may never meet in real life: Miss Trixie. Retire me already! Where’s my ham?