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RAW, HEARTFELT, DISTURBING,
This review is from: The Yellow Birds (Hardcover)
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2005. Al Tafar in Iraq. Three young soldiers are traumatized by their experiences. Private John Bartles narrates - he haunted by memories of refugees and killings, bloated bodies devoured by dogs and rats, dehumanization during battles when the fervent hope is that anybody but self will be the next statistic. For him, though, eclipsing all such painful images is the fate of eighteen year old Murph....
A harrowing read. An army marching chant concerns a yellow bird lured to its destruction. So it would seem is the fate of those depicted here. The aim is to tell it as it was, Bartle describing starkly but with a poet's eye and sensitivity.
This short, powerful novel provokes many thoughts - the human story behind each newly reported death; the plight of those permanently maimed, both in body and in mind. Kevin Powers does not take sides, only too aware of the suffering caused for all when war is declared.
I cannot claim to have "liked" or "loved" this work, the five stars instead awarded out of admiration for the way the novel so gripped. Many other readers no doubt also emerged drained, made uncomfortably more aware of matters perhaps taken too much for granted.