Tin House snuck a select number of early readers into our galley room (figuratively) for a (literal) peek into Rosalie Knecht’s Who Is Vera Kelly?, the literary spy novel the New York Times Book Review is calling, “gripping, subtle, magnificently written.”
Who Is Vera Kelly? follows its eponymous heroine from her difficult beginnings in Chevy Chase, Maryland, to the underground gay scene in 1960s Greenwich Village, to a covert operation in Buenos Aires. Through it all, she struggles to find herself, her sexuality, a way in to a group of young radicals, and a way out of Cold War Argentina. Want to know more? Our early readers’ thoughts are declassified below.
What do you think makes Vera Kelly a good spy?
- Her will.
- Her tenacity.
- She’s calm and curious.
- She is tenacious, resourceful, and fearless.
- Her awareness of each person’s vulnerability.
- Her intuition, smarts, tenacity, sense of adventure.
- She is gutsy and willing to do whatever it takes, even sacrifice her own happiness or comfort.
- Her loner personality and her lack of close relationships.
- Her extreme self-awareness, and an empathetic mind.
- Her growing up with her tough mother and at the youth center give her a toughness that surrounds her vulnerability. That vulnerability gives her an insight into others.
- Her learning to mask who she is at home, which makes her adept at playing necessary roles in the field.
- Her tech skills and observational skills.
- Her lack of personal connections.
- Her intuition and attention to detail.
- She’s not pretending!
- She is adept at hiding in plain sight.
- Her shiftlessness. Because she doesn’t know who she is, she can be anyone.
- She’s brave, gutsy, a little reckless, and very intelligent.
- She is trying to prove herself as well as find herself. She is also good at what she does because she has a bit of reckless abandon.
Infographics by Jakob Vala.