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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
Attention, all wordsmiths! Welcome to the quirky isle of Nollopton, a tiny landmass off the coast of the Carolinas, where life is fairly uncomplicated and predictable. The eponymous founder of the island, Mr. Nevin Nollop, left his loyal citizens a curious benefaction upon his death -- a single sentence construction: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog, which contains each letter of the English alphabet, with minimal repetition. This legacy has formed the center of the islanders' life for more than a century, for it is spelled out in individual tiles on a cenotaph erected in the town square. In the absence of phone service and email, the residents have evolved into a "well-educated, well-versed, and well-spoken people whom Mr. Nollop has taught to elevate language to a certain preeminence unmatched by our vocabu-lazy American neighbors across the sound." Alas, the contented denizens of Nollop soon discover that the most insignificant of events may become instruments of tyranny. For individual tiles begin to fall from their places on the cenotaph, and the High Island Council decrees the falling letters a sign from Nollop himself that such letters should be stricken from use by all citizens. One by one, letters are outlawed, with dire punishments meted out to those who disobey the edict. And letter by letter, islanders find their ability to express themselves growing ever compromised.
In his first novel, playwright Mark Dunn has crafted a linguistically sparkling and profoundly clever cautionary tale about the dark side of human nature and the quest for expression. A thoroughly original debut! (Fall 2001 Selection)