Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oh Dunces, Dunces!

In a rejection letter to John Kennedy Toole, an editor called A Confederacy of Dunces "obsessively foul and grotesque." Simon & Schuster editors considered the manuscript briefly, but ultimately decided it wasn't "really about anything." Toole killed himself. Then won a Pulitzer.

3 comments:

Book Cannibal said...

You know, I really like that book, and it's quite brilliant, but the big problem I had with it was that the author so clearly despises his main character. Does anyone else see that as a draw back? I don't want to read a book where the author is basically ridiculing his main character from cover to cover. I think that's why I never picked up NEON BIBLE, even though I have found memories of CONFEDERACY.

Writer, Rejected said...

I would agree with brilliant and slightly ridiculing. I think I could find my way over the harshness of the relationship between protagonist and author by ascribing some unfortunate (but human) self-loathing to the mix; perhaps Toole identified with the protag and therefore couldn't really love him the way an author should love his/her main character (?). This made it seem poignant and sad to me, rather than annoying. However, interestingly, I couldn't bring myself to read NEON BIBLE either.

Thorn said...

Oh I don't know. I kind of like it when an author doesn't like their main character. Refreshing. I just finished 'Grotesque' by Natsuo Kirino & it was clear that while she started out liking her nameless narrator, she grew to hate her. As I did, too.

Interesting blog, BTW. I admire your perseverance in the face of all these rejections.