Code Name Verity

CNV.jpg

This is an attempt at reviewing Code Name Verity without giving too much of the plot away.

Code Name Verity is a novel by Elizabeth Wein which was pointed out to me by Cari Hunter in the interview I posted on this blog a month ago. It has been categorised as a YA novel but I honestly believe it is a very restricting label. Code Name Verity deserves a wider and older audience and has the potential of a classic.

‘I am a coward. I wanted to be heroic and I pretended I was. I have always been good at pretending.’

These are the opening lines of the novel. The narrator is Queenie. She’s a Scottish aristocrat who was arrested when she looked the wrong way (left, in true British manner) before crossing a street in France. She is now detained by the Gestapo in a former hotel near Poitiers, and forced to write a confession detailing the British war effort.

Through her crafty and witty confession, she tells the story of her friendship with Maddie, a working class Mancunian of Jewish descent and the pilot who dropped her in France, and the saga that brought her to France.

In the second part of the novel, the point of view shifts to another character and the story takes on a totally different meaning.

Code Name Verity is not just a war story. It is primarily a book about friendship, about love, about the powerful and mutual attraction, the gut-wrenching trust and the unfailing loyalty between two young women who in normal circumstances would never have met.

If you like good and well-researched writing, clever humour and strong heroines, you will love Code Name Verity. But be warned: it is a book that will bring tears to your eyes and will still haunt you long after you have read the last page.

Quotes from Code Name Verity:

It’s like being in love, discovering your best friend.

‘We’re still alive and we make a sensational team.’

I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant. But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old.

Commemorating the Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup

veld'hiv1.jpg

veld'hiv2.jpg

veld'hiv3.jpg

veld'hiv4.jpg

The Vel’ d’Hiv Roundup is the largest planned round up of Jews by the Nazis in occupied France during WW2. On July 16 and 17, 1942, 13,152 Jews were arrested with the help of the French police. This roundup accounted for more than a quarter of the 42,000 Jews sent from France to Auschwitz in 1942, of whom only 811 came home at the end of the war.

In my hometown this event is commemorated on the sunday closest to the event. French officials, war veterans, ordinary citizens and members of our tiny Jewish community gather in front of a monument erected in memory of the Warsow ghetto to recall this shameful event.

There is some music: the French national anthem, the French partisan song, Zog Nit Keynmol and Yerushalaim Shel Zahav. This is followed by speeches: usually one by the chairman of our community and one by a French official on behalf of the government.

The photos above were taken yesterday on the spot. I only dared to take one during the commemoration itself and went back in the afternoon to take some more. The sun was high in the sky so the photos are not very good but I hope they give you an idea of the event and on the location.