A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
This is one of those books where everything is subservient to the utterly dominant central character. Ignatius J Reilly is a Quixote meets Falstaff figure, a bellowing, farting mountain of a man convinced against all the evidence of his own genius. As he roars around 1960s New Orleans meeting other oddballs, I couldn’t help willing him to succeed despite his destructive, duplicitous and all-round obnoxious behaviour.
Contains the line, “Open your heart, Ignatius, and your valve will follow”.