From the beginning, John Kennedy Toole was a stand out -- an exceptional child, student, teacher, soldier and, in the end, novelist. Although his initial attempts to publish the now famous novel were met with rejection, in 1981, twelve years after the authorís suicide, A Confederacy of Dunces was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction, thanks in part to the extraordinary efforts of Walker Percy who received the manuscript from Mr. Tooleís mother, Thelma Toole, a character as rich and complex as any in the novel.
Thelma guides us through the authorís early years as he skips grades, graduates from Tulane University with honors at age 20 and flies through a Masters program at Columbia in one year. She is there for his beginning and for his end, and in that journey is revealed a unique relationship that ends in Thelma taking center-stage, a part for which she had yearned and prepared all her life.
And what stresses and cracks in his heart led Ken to a dead-end road on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, just a few miles from home, a few minutes from his family?
Why here? Why now?