D (a Tale of Two Worlds)

Michel Faber. Hanover Square, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-335-91674-7
Faber’s entertaining, fantastical romp (after The Book of Strange New Things) concerns the sudden disappearance of the letter D. Dicky Bentley, 13, doesn’t have memories of her early childhood before her adoption, but knows she hails from Somaliland in Africa, and no one in Dicky’s orbit in Cawber-on-Sands, England, knows much about her homeland except for her history teacher, Professor Dodderfield. One morning, Dicky notices the letter D has vanished from the newspaper and from people’s speech (“ ‘Demolish?’ she ventured. ‘Emolish,’ her mum confirmed”). At school, she’s suddenly admonished for her poor spelling, and her status as the only Black girl in Cawber is brought into greater relief. She consults Dodderfield for answers and meets Nelly, a sphinx who morphs into a dog whom the professor says will take her on a journey to find the stolen letter. Dicky and Nelly enter wintry Liminus from a Chronicles of Narnia-esque portal and see Ds carried aloft by dragonflies. A catlike Drood character helps Dicky reclaim the letter D, while they work together to restore warmth to the frozen land. Liminus is chock-full of literary references—a chapter titled “Bleak House,” about a house that traps its guests; an evil ruler straight out of the Wizard of Oz who transformed Liminus into tundra after seizing power—and they come together smoothly through Faber’s genuine enthusiasm for storytelling. This splendid tale will enchant readers of all ages. (Dec.)
Reviewed on : 09/28/2020
Release date: 12/08/2020
Genre: Fiction
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