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Ella Minnow Peaby Mark Dunn
Originally subtitled "A Progressively Lipogrammatic Epistolary Fable," Mark Dunn's brilliantly conceived and cleverly written Ella Minnow Pea is a logophile's dream novel. Composed entirely of letters, this is the playful story of Nollop, a fictional island named for Nevin Nollop, creator of the popular pangram, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Having erected a statue to honor his achievement, the island's council then begins to ban the use of certain letters as they fall, one by one, from the memorial's facade. Ella, confronted with the encroaching totalitarianism of the council, urges the island's residents to resist the decree and rebel against the enforced censorship. Though quaint and lighthearted on its surface, this parable quietly addresses the issues of tyranny, unchecked bureaucracy, freedom of speech, and the responsibility of citizenship.
Synopses & Reviews
Ella Minnow Pea is an epistolary novel set in the fictional island of Nollop situated off the coast of South Carolina and home to the inventor pangram The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog. Now deceased, the islanders have erected a monument to honor their hero, but one day a tile with the letter "z" falls from the statue. The leaders interpret the falling tile as a message from beyond the grave and the letter is banned from use. On an isalnd where the residents pride themselves on their love of language, this is seen as a tragedy. They are still reeling from the shock, when another tile falls and then another?
Mark Dunn takes us on a journey against time through the eyes of Ella Minnow Pea and her family as they race to find another phrase containing all the letters of the alphabet to save them from being unable to communicate.
"A treasure of a novel. Dunn has an incredibly fascinating and clever way of using the English language, with or without all the letters of the alphabet. This witty satire and moving fable is a must-read for everyone who loves words... and free speech!" Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM
"There's the whiff of a classic about Ella Minnow Pea." The Christian Science Monitor
"A love letter to alphabetarians and logomaniacs everywhere." Myla Goldberg
"A curiously compelling...satire of human foibles, and a light-stepping commentary on censorship and totalitarianism." The Philadelphia Inquirer
"This exceptional, zany book will quickly make you laugh." Dallas Morning Herald
"Ella Minnow Pea is a witty fable, but it's also a satire about censorship among other things....[T]he book should give us plenty to think about." Detroit Free Press
Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island's Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl's fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere.
*pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet
About the Author
Mark Dunn is the author of more than twenty-five full-length plays. Belles and Five Tellers Dancing in the Rain have together received over 150 productions throughout the world, and Dunn has been the recipient of several national playwriting awards. He is currently playwright-in-residence with the New Jersey Repertory Company and the Community Theatre League in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Originally from Memphis, he now lives in Greenwich Village with his wife, Mary. Ella Minnow Pea is his first novel.
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