D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michel Faber

‘It was a long, long day without the D.’

One morning at breakfast, the letter D disappears from Dhiliko’s parents’ conversation.   It is also missing from road signs and from school dinners.  Just imagine how difficult life becomes when no-one can say your name properly anymore?  But it isn’t just the letter D itself that goes missing: the local dentist and the neighbour’s dalmatian also vanish.

‘Despite being in the bottom percentile of befriendedness, Dhikilo used to love school.  After the disappearance of the D, she didn’t like it so much anymore.’

The mystery deepens.  Language becomes garbled, Dhiliko is the only person who seems to notice that D is missing.  And then her former history teacher Professor Dodderfield dies.  Dhiliko attends his funeral and visits his home.

And this is where the story really begins.  Dhiliko’s search for the letter D takes her to a world called Liminus, on a quest to find out what is happening and why. Gamp controls Liminus, and D has a specific purpose in that world.  Can Dhiliko and her companion Mrs Robinson save the letter D?  Can they help those enslaved by Gamp?

What a wonderful magical trip this was!  Echoes of other fantastic journeys, character names that readers of Charles Dickens will recognise, a magic portal between worlds.  Dhiliko herself, from a country no-one has heard of, has been adopted by caring (but anxious) English parents.  She is treated as an outsider in England but her trip to Liminus gives her a chance to find her own place in the world.

I really enjoyed this fantasy.  Dhiliko is a wonderful hero, and her journey kept me quickly turning the pages.

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. 

Jennifer Cameron-Smith