ELLA MINNOW PEA: A NOVEL IN LETTERS: Mark Dunn: Anchor Books: Fiction: 208pgs.
Ella Minnow Pea is living happily on the fictional island of Nollop, named after the man who coined the phrase, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” In the center of town is a monument to Nollop, with tiles bearing the famous phrase. But when letters start to fall from the statue, citizens take it as a sign to stop using those letters completely, under strict punishment for infractions. As the letters progressively drop from the monument they also disappear from the novel. What results is the story of Ella's fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force.
This book is quirky and charming. Punnily subtitled "A novel in letters," it's written only in correspondence, which makes it a quick read. It will be especially enjoyable for those who appreciate language, vocabulary, and literary playfulness.