Code Name Verity, by Elizabeth Wein

There are a number of covers I’ve seen for this book, and while they all ostensibly represent the book, the one above is the only one I saw in person that feels appropriate.  It’s a very good book, definitely worth reading, and more than a little dark.  Here’s the other one I’ve seen in print for a spot of comparison:

The first one is far more fitting, I think.

Code Name Verity is an excellent book, one that I have no wish to ruin for you by telling you too much about it.  Suffice to say that I enjoyed reading it with a little notepad by my side, to better keep track of what I thought was going on as I kept reading.  It’s an excellent example of the ways in which a story grows in the telling.  If you’re at all excited about reading the story of a woman caught and questioned by the Gestapo after being accused of spying, you should read this book.  If you like WW2 fiction, you should read this book.  If you like spy stories, you should read this book.  There are a lot of reasons why you should read this book.  But I think I’ll leave it there, and put anything else that I say about it after a little *SPOILER* break.


You know, even having separated this bit, I still don’t want to ruin things for you.  I had a good idea of what was going on fairly early on in the story, but seeing it take shape was so much fun that I’d hate to ruin the experience for you.  One of the things that I most appreciated about this book actually came from reading Derrida around the same time; specifically, it gave me an example of différance in action that helped me to better understand it.  Because the story shifts and becomes more layered and complex as the narrative continues, my own understanding of what had come before was also fundamentally reshaped… and experiencing that at the same time that I was reading Derrida brought me to the realization that basically every story with an unreliable narrator relies on the temporal aspect of différance in order to create it’s own sense of revelation and development.

There, I said it: unreliable narrator.  You’d probably guess as soon as you start reading the book, but it seemed worth trying to hide.  And now that I’ve said it, I really don’t want to say anything more.  Certainly not if you enjoy the book anywhere near as much as I did.  I strongly recommend reading it, it’s a pretty quick read.  Or more accurately, it isn’t easy to put down.


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