I enjoyed this book. It feels like just a gentle read and quite charming on the surface, but it has quite sinister undertones. It is very cleverly written.

The story is told from the viewpoint of two young boys through their games of make-believe and pretend, one such game being tracking a supposed German spy. The boys are both quite ordinary boys living in an ordinary neighbourhood. The war doesn’t seem to have touched them much, there are no reports of rationing or bombing. They are just two normal boys, quite excited by the prospect of war and determined to have their own adventures. But they gradually come to realise that real life has its own dramas and secrets, most of which they end up wishing they had never discovered and become involved in.

The title of the book sounds very dramatic, and the book is gentler than its title suggests. But it has several surprising twists. The author really brings alive the everyday life of these boys and the excitement and pretend games they create while safe in their ordinary neighbourhood – and then very cleverly surprises you with a few unexpected events just when you think everything is pretty much a figment of the boys’ imaginations. And these unexpected events left me with unanswered questions – I read the book at the same time as a friend and we found we’d reached totally different conclusions about the adult characters and their secrets, for example.

It is difficult to neatly slot the book into a category, it isn’t war drama, it isn’t a spy novel, yet it isn’t just a story of everyday life either. However you define it, it is an enjoyable, interesting, and quite unusual read.



Spies (Paperback)

By (author): Michael Frayn

Good: A copy that has been read, but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact, and the cover is intact (including dust cover, if applicable). The spine may show signs of wear. Pages can include limited notes and highlighting, and the copy can include "From the library of" labels.Some of our books may have slightly worn corners, and minor creases to the covers. Please note the cover may sometimes be different to the one shown.
List Price: £7.99 GBP
New From: £3.16 GBP In Stock
Used from: £0.01 GBP In Stock