*Guest Post* Book Review on ‘Ella Minnow Pea’ by Mark Dunn

Lynda Spiro - There is Always More To Say

A few weeks ago, my son told me about a review he wrote on a book he was reading that sounded really interesting!

It’s called Ella Minnow Pea and tells the story of a village that slowly outlaws the use of certain letters. As the book goes on, the letters actually disappear from the book itself! It sounds great.

I have not had the time to read it yet, but he said he would be happy to offer his review. Please find his book review below, and enjoy!

“Hi all,

I have never blogged about a book before, but I would like to bring my latest read to your attention – Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn.

I don’t often read fiction novels. I like to divide my reading attention into non-fiction essays and biographies, with my fiction mostly dedicated to television shows. However, upon discovering this gem I wanted to adjust my priorities.

Ella Minnow Pea is an epistolary lipogram which follows our protagonist, Ella, living on the fictional island of Nollop. Her home is named after Nevin Nollop – the man given credit for creating the famous sentence, ‘The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog’. There is a statue on the island in his honour, which is taken incredibly seriously by the local council. However, its tiles containing the sentence begin to fall, which the council interprets as a sign from Nollop himself – demanding the islanders omit the letters from their lives!

What follows is an increasingly ludicrous attempt to outlaw the use of certain letters used to write the letters which are exchanged. The stakes rise as the letters fall, and so Ella takes it upon herself to save the island from literary extinction.

Sound confusing? It is. Ella Minnow Pea is a unique challenge that Dunn takes on with great success. Immediately, we plummet into a life where the freedom of speech and expression is compromised. The novel tackles the theme of Totalitarianism from an authoritarian local council which is determined to remove all history and sense of expression.

I have never quite read anything like it. As someone who adores the English language and wordplay, I found my heart racing each time another letter dropped from the doomed statue, forever affecting the fate of the island’s inhabitants.

Since its publication in 2001, the ‘progressively lipogrammatic’ novel has been selected as Boarders’ Book of the Year and is currently being adapted into a film. I would certainly recommend anyone with a love of language to check it out.


This post originally appeared on www.jamesspiro.com 

 Hope you enjoyed the review and that it encourages you to read the book.

Thanks, James! Can I borrow the book, please?

Lynda x

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About the Author

Lynda Lynda lives in London. She is a mixed media artist and There Is Always More To Say is her first novel.

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