I've just finished the most wonderfully lexico-nerdy novel - ella minnow pea
by Mark Dunn. It's about an island nation where people gradually lose the right to use letters of the alphabet and, of course, those same letters gradually disappear from the novel itself. It's a fascinating concept but one which could lead to a rather pretentious bit of clever-clever literature. I love writers who play with language - I was totally captured by David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas
- but I'm also wary of writing that tries to be too clever - I hated Italo Calvino's If on a winter's night a traveller
and gave up on Will Self's Book of Dave
. But ella minnow pea
has a totally compelling story, with wonderful characters which sweeps you along towards a gripping ending. It's a great little novel, that I'd recommend to anyone - language geek or otherwise!
Labels: alphabet, books, language