In the book I'm currently reading (Galatea 2.2 by Richard Powers), the author has the habit of refering to certain places by a single initial. The community in which the narrator went to college and in which he now lives is U.; after college, he lived in B.; and the village in Holland in which he lived for a few years is E. I don't know why he does this. It's obvious in context that B. is Boston. The contextual clues about U. are subtler, but I eventually recognized it as Urbana, home of the University of Illinois. And about two minutes on the web suggests that E. might be Eys-Wittem. So the question is, why disguise the names of these places if an informed reader is going to be able to identify them with little effort?