Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn

The island of Nollop is named for its most famous citizen: Nevin Nollop, creator of the pangram, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Nollopians love language and take great pride in the creative use of their large vocabularies. Indeed, Nollop is a wordy paradise until an ordinary event triggers a fanatical response by the governing council. The council's actions snowball until the Nollopians are robbed of their beloved language, resulting in mayhem, mass exodus, and even a few deaths. These tragic events are documented in the letters of the titular Ella, her family and friends, who are at first horrified witnesses, then determined resistance fighters seeking to restore order through an act of linguistic heroics.

This book is a humorous bit of stunt writing as the calamity removes letters from usage with nearly every chapter, challenging the author to perform grammatical acrobatics to present a readable story. Dunn achieves this feat and some others that will delight language enthusiasts. He also emphasizes the importance of free communication to the well-being of society. Crossword puzzle lovers should enjoy this quick read while picking up several new words along the way.

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Published by on April 27, 2020
Last Modified May 18, 2022