Do we need 26 letters?
Mark Dunn – Ella Minnow Pea

Mark Dunn – Ella Minnow Pea

Other books I read by this author: –


Dear reader, 

Could you live without one or more letters than the 26 we have in this day and age? You might assume it is easy. You would consider that one or more letters especially the last 4, could get scratched out; you’d still manage. You would steer your way around that. Except, what would you do when you hear that it is not only the written language that was touched. What would you do when you could not use those letters in any way, shape or structure. Not type them out, not utter a word with that letter in it, not read anything that contains the letter. 

This is precisely what happens on the imaginary island named Nollop, when the 26th letter in our collected characters, written on the statue depicting the eponym Nevin Nollop, who supposedly authored the pangram “the “rapid chocolate-coloured vulpine” jumps over the “idle” dog”, plunges to the earth. The residents on the island encounter increasingly severe punishment when caught using unsanctioned letters. In this epistolary novel, we witness the accounts our heroine Ella Minnow Pea (try saying the name out loud, reader) recalls through her letters and we see her world getting more desolate and smaller when more letters drop to the ground. 

When, as me, you sincerely love writing and words, as well as just reading, I suspect you will enjoy this novel. It is an original tale. Not in topic per se, since dystopian novels exist in copious amounts, yet its style was marvellous. I thought it was a true joy to read.

Reader, you might ponder this letter regarding its length; why it is shorter than you are accustomed to. Please call to mind that I had less than a complete letter-set to write it. I can tell you, it is harder than it is perceived. 

With love,


Image by Vincent van Zalinge via Unsplash