You ever read it? Such a good book, among the funniest I’ve read, really strong voice, amazing characters. The central character, Ignatius J. Reilly, is a horribly overweight man still living with his mother and obsessed by the 6th-century philosopher Boethius. He has various awesome adventures around his hometown of New Orleans, including a stint running a hot dog stand. Turns out that John Kennedy Toole based him on a fellow academic who he shared an office with: here’s an excerpt from a new book all about him.

In case you’re unfamiliar with the story of Toole, it’s a sad one. When he first submitted Confederacy, publishers rejected it. He later killed himself, and the book was only published after Toole’s mother showed it to a novelist, Walker Percy, who recognised its genius and got it into print.