The yellow birds : a novel / Kevin Powers.

Item request has been placed! ×
Item request cannot be made. ×
  Processing Request
Share on Goodreads
  • Additional Information
    • Edition:
      1st ed.
    • Abstract:
      Summary: In the midst of a bloody battle in the Iraq War, two soldiers, bound together since basic training, do everything to protect each other from both outside enemies and the internal struggles that come from constant danger. This novel written by a veteran of the war in Iraq, is the harrowing story of two young soldiers trying to stay alive. "The war tried to kill us in the spring." So begins this powerful account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. Bound together since basic training when Bartle makes a promise to bring Murphy safely home, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him and Bartle takes actions he could never have imagined. In addition the novel also offers insight into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home.
    • ISBN:
      9780316219365
      0316219363
    • LCCN:
      2012019435
    • OCLC:
      ocn776523645
      776523645
    • Accession Number:
      fay.531501

Reviews

Booklist Reviews 2012 August #1

Coming on the heels of two other Iraq War novels, the powerful Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and the blackly comic Fobbit (both 2012) is this first novel by a former soldier. It follows 21-year-old Private John Bartle and his friend Murph from basic training through their horrific experience in Iraq and Bartle's subsequent attempts, once he arrives back home, to reconcile himself to what he saw and did in the war. Flowing entirely from Bartle's perspective are long, languorous sentences that simultaneously describe the stark desert landscape of Iraq and the mutilated corpses that litter the battleground. Under intense pressure, Murph begins to dissociate from his surroundings, eventually leaving his unit's base camp, where he becomes the prey of insurgents. Powers' intense and insular prose effectively communicates the fear of young soldiers so inadequately prepared for the atrocities they will both witness and commit as well as the absurdity of continually capturing and losing the same city over the war's long course. Some readers, however, may find the novel to be somewhat static in its relentlessly artful depiction of the horrors of war. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2012 April #2

Starkly, relentlessly absorbing (at first glance), this debut comes from an Iraq war veteran who joined the army at 17. Now he's a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, getting his MFA. His protagonists, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy, are sustained by their friendship, but the war they were never really prepared to fight changes them both.

[Page 58]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

LJ Reviews 2012 June #1

This first novel by Powers traces the story of a young soldier named John Bartle and his friend Murph during fighting in northern Iraq in 2005. Sterling, the tough sergeant of their platoon, has informally assigned Bartle the job of watching over Murph, who is young, small, and not much of a soldier, and Bartle had also promised Murph's mother that he would take care of him. As the horrors of war escalate, all the soldiers seem to lose their grip, and Murph finally snaps, leaving the compound and forcing Bartle and Sterling to search for him through the nightmarish landscape of a ravaged city. Alternating with this plot is the story of Bartle's life after his return home, as he attempts to piece together his friend's fate and come to grips with it. VERDICT Thoughtful and analytical, the novel resonates as an accurate and deeply felt portrayal of the effects of post-combat syndrome as experienced by soldiers in the disorienting war in Iraq. While the battle scenes are effectively dramatized, the main character's inner turmoil is the focal point of this well-done novel. [See Prepub Alert, 3/22/12.]—Jim Coan, SUNY at Oneonta

[Page 94]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

LJ Reviews Newsletter

Powers, Kevin. The Yellow Birds. Little, Brown. Sept. 2012. 192p. ISBN 9780316219365. $24.99. CD: Hachette Audio. LITERARY (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PW Reviews 2012 July #5

This moving debut from Powers (a former Army machine gunner) is a study of combat, guilt, and friendship forged under fire. Pvt. John Bartle, 21, and Pvt. Daniel Murphy, 18, meet at Fort Dix, N.J., where Bartle is assigned to watch over Murphy. The duo is deployed to Iraq, and the novel alternates between the men's war zone experiences and Bartle's life after returning home. Early on, it emerges that Murphy has been killed; Bartle is haunted by guilt, and the details of Murphy's death surface slowly. Powers writes gripping battle scenes, and his portrait of male friendship, while cheerless, is deeply felt. As a poet, the author's prose is ambitious, which sets his treatment of the theme apart—as in this musing from Bartle: "though it's hard to get close to saying what the heart is, it must at least be that which rushes to spill out of those parentheses which were the beginning and end of my war." The sparse scene where Bartle finally recounts Murphy's fate is masterful and Powers's style and story are haunting. (Sept.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC