Books: Rumblings

A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES

by John Kennedy Toole

Louisiana State University

Press 338 pages; $12.95

Into each literary life some unsolicited manuscripts must fall, and fall and fall and fall. They are almost never any good. Established authors, editors, critics and agents read them glumly, but with a touch of the spirit that moves others to buy lottery tickets. The big payoff may be ridiculously unlikely, but the lure is irresistible. Novelist Walker Percy was handed an improbable winning number in 1976. A teaching stint in New Orleans left him vulnerable to would-be writers. One...

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