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Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark…
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Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters (original 2001; edition 2002)

by Mark Dunn

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,4291652,550 (3.88)356
Member:tiffin
Title:Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters
Authors:Mark Dunn
Info:Anchor (2002), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Modern American Lit.

Work details

Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn (2001)

  1. 30
    Tepper Isn't Going Out: A Novel by Calvin Trillin (amysisson)
    amysisson: Both are deceptively simple stories that highlight absurdity in human behavior.
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    Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (Runa)
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    The Wonderful O by James Thurber (SylviaC)
    SylviaC: Both stories use a light touch to look at language and censorship.
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    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde (bucketyell)
  5. 11
    Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: Word play and language are an intregal part of both books. Ella Minnow Pea is a bit more sophisticated, but for adults or teens who enjoyed Haroun and the Sea of Stories, I think they will also find Ella Minnow Pea very enjoyable.
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» See also 356 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
A story of a fictional island off the cost of the US famed for the sentence of “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog” that was considered the shortest possible sentence using the alphabet. The letters begin to fall off the statue that is dedicated to the sentence and the politicians of the island decide that this a message from the creator of the sentence that the citizens are to go without using that particular letter.

Its a fun book that plays with words but it is also a satire of the dangers of political and religious fanaticism.

There is actually a lot of rather unique and large words used throughout this book until there is really is no language left in which to express self. The point could be that we can be quite “full of words” and full of self righteousness. Some people have rated this work negatively because it is so “wordy” but isn't that the point? ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 21, 2015 |
Told in epistolary form, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn is, on the surface, an engaging fable about a small island country and what happens when they are banned from using the letters of the alphabet, one letter at a time. In truth this is a clever political satire. Not only does this book explore how important words and letters are to culture, history and education, this is also a look at the harm that blindly following a totalitarian government can do in terms of mass hysteria, intolerance and personal freedom.

The author keeps his tale fairly simple and rather gentle, but he also manages to poke fun at most of today’s rigid institutions like religion and politics, hinting at the abyss that could await us all if we let control fall into the hands of a few fanatics. As the letters are taken away from the islanders, their creative use of new words and phrases are inventive, skilful and give the story it’s heart.

Ella Minnow Pea is a quick and enjoyable read by an author who obviously loves the English language and has a great imagination. Although I never once found this story very believable, it was a remarkable read. ( )
1 vote DeltaQueen50 | Mar 3, 2015 |
A delightful look at the implications of overzealous rules. ( )
1 vote kbergfeld | Jan 21, 2015 |
This book was such a sweet read. It completly changed my mood from sour to being quite happy. I wanted to be friends with all of the Nollopians. I really felt their struggle and was stuned by their large and dexterious vocabularies.

Its a quick read so if your unsure, just go of it. Its good times all around. ( )
1 vote sscarllet | Nov 20, 2014 |
Ella Minnow Pea is an amusing fable about a fictional island country where one by one, use of each letter of the alphabet is outlawed. It's an epistolary novel, so it's a book of letters about letters, gradually degrading into almost nonsense as the letters are removed. There is not much in the way of plot or characterization; rather, this is a brainteaser couched in book form. Still, it's light and enjoyable, especially to lovers of words, letters, and language.

Read for the 2014 Random Category Challenge (August 2014). ( )
  sturlington | Sep 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 166 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
In the beginning was the Word.

- Gospel of John, Chapter 1, Verse 1
The wicked peon quivered,

then gazed balefully at the judges

who examined him.

- Anonymous Typesetter
Dedication
For Mary
First words
Nollopton. Sunday, July 23. Dear Cousin Tassie, Thank you for the lovely postcards.
Quotations
For the present, it is easier for us to turn away. Our repulsion, you see, will not spur us to revolt until this plague moves much closer to home.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Haiku summary
Letters about a
Sign with letters that fall off.
Let her freedom ring.
(_debbie_)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385722435, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:48:32 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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