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A powerful book that should be widely read.....,
This review is from: The Yellow Birds (Hardcover)
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In 2006 John Bartle returns from the Iraq War psychologically damaged. He is haunted by the fate of his friend Murph. He had promised Murph's mother that he would make sure her son came home safe. This was an unrealistic promise and we know from the start that nineteen year-old Murph never returned to his family - but it is only much later in the book that we are told the real horror of his death.
Good (and not-so-good) books emerge from all wars and we are now beginning to get some excellent literary work from recent foreign "adventures". The Yellow Birds has been critically acclaimed and joins Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk by Ben Fountain as one of the best so far. The writing is poetic, but in a very muscular way. He makes the unforgiving environment very real to the reader and we feel the fear and confusion of the ordinary soldier. The reasons for the war are never discussed - they are there because they were sent there....
There are even echoes of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five when Kevin Powers ends some reflections with "So it goes".
This is a powerful book that deserves a wide readership.