Posts Tagged ‘John Kennedy Toole’

19th December
written by Tony
1989 (kind of)

1989 (kind of)

Let me first say that this book intrigued me for several reasons. One, I loved A Confederacy of Dunces. Two, I love the album of the same name by Arcade Fire, which has absolutely no relation to this book. Three, it's a name that appeals to me conceptually. I'm not the first to say this, but I'll say it nonetheless: if you liked To Kill a Mockingbird then you will also enjoy this book. The simplicity of the writing and the authenticity of the voice combine for an easily digested, yet powerful language that is compelling and engaging. The story is not a complex one, and it revolves around the actions of a simple-minded protagonist named David who is trapped by his poor roots and meager intelligence in a small town in Louisiana. The story is a retrospective told in the first person and generally serves to bring the reader up to speed on the events that open in the first chapter. Each proceeding chapter covers roughly a year in David's life and we are taken from when he is a small child to when he is a man of 19. The back-story on this book is almost as interesting as the book itself, and serves to shed a little light on the brief life of Toole. He wrote this book when he was 16 and it makes me sick. Toole at 16 was already a brilliant writer and it shows in this work. His ability to choose the right phrasing and the right vocabulary throughout the book continued to astonish me every time I recalled that, at 16, I was barely able to express how I felt about even the simplest things with any great aplomb. And here we have Toole who captures the essence of what it is to live in a small southern village and deal with the complex racial and social issues day to day. The book was published posthumously, as Toole felt it was too amateurish to publish while he was alive. (more…)