The Yellow Birds, by Kevin Powers. Compelling, beautiful, heartbreaking: I read this book in three days. This elegantly written and structured little tome holds one man’s experience of war between its covers. At 230 pages it’s a tome not in length but in weight: it’s heavy. John Bartle is 21 when he arrives in Iraq in early 2004; his fellow soldier Daniel Murphy is 18. The story moves in time and place, between
Al Tafar and Virginia (with episodes in Germany, New Jersey and Kentucky interspersed), unfolding so that suspense gradually builds about what happened in Al Tafar. It’s the writing that kept me riveted; I had no idea, until now, what it’s like to be a soldier at war.
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