Love from A to Z
Did anyone read Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn? I quite liked that book. I haven't read anything else even remotely similar in spirit until The End of the Alphabet by C.S. Richardson. The story of Ambrose Zephyr and his wife, Zappora (Zipper) Ashkenazi, begins with Ambrose learning that he only has 30 days left to live. Ambrose's final goal is to spend his last days traveling A to Z from Amsterdam to Zanzibar. Along the way, the reader learns more about Ambrose's peculiarities and his enduring relationship with Zipper and can't help falling in love with the couple during their precious last days together.
Short, almost novella-like, The End of the Alphabet weaves together quirky ABC obsessions with romance, loyalty and devotion, travel, self-awareness and loss. It amazes me that so much fills the pages of such a little book, but it's all there.
As to Ella Minnow Pea: if you haven't read it and enjoy letters (alphabet and epistolary), give it a go! An eccentric group of islanders living off the coast of North Carolina (on the fictional island of Nollop) communicate primarily by letter-writing. As letters of the alphabet fall off a statue dedicated to the island's hero, the residents must find ways to communicate in writing without using the fallen letters. As more and more letters fall off and are forbidden, the written letters become more and more clever and difficult to decipher. Making it to the end is like finishing a satisfying puzzle.