Felicitous Festival of Phraseology (Humorous Word Play)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn chronicles the island nation of Nollop and the outrageous laws enacted to omit certain letters of the alphabet in spoken or written form when those particular letters fall off a monument of local hero, Nevin Nollop, creator of the pangram The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
Written in epistolary format, we follow the absurdity and consequences of these restrictions. Ironically, this tiny nation is dedicated to the education and celebration of language, which is evidenced in their eloquent and rich usage of speech. Their letters sound like correspondence from a different century. So what can the islanders do in a race against time before they lose their ability to communicate? You’ll have to read and see.
If you enjoyed the epistolary style of this book you may also want to consider The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows or Where’d You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple.
If you enjoyed the lipogrammatic (written without specific letters of the alphabet) style of this novel, you may want to consider A Void by Georges Perec, written without the use of the letter “e.”
This book met several of my 2015 Book Challenges: Read a book set in a foreign country (although fictitious); Read a book set on an island; Read a book that makes you laugh out loud. Read a book from the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.
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