The Yellow Birds

Kevin Powers. Little, Brown, $24.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-316-21936-5
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.)
Reviewed on: 07/30/2012
Release date: 09/11/2012
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Hardcover - 112 pages - 978-0-316-25222-5
Compact Disc - 978-1-61969-032-5
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4447-6876-3
Hardcover - 230 pages - 978-1-4447-5614-2
Hardcover - 230 pages - 978-1-4447-5616-6
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-4447-5613-5
Hardcover - 255 pages - 978-1-4104-5256-6
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61969-745-4
Open Ebook - 978-0-316-21935-8
Paperback - 230 pages - 978-0-316-21934-1
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-1-4447-6543-4
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-1-59413-638-2
Prebound-Glued - 230 pages - 978-0-606-31723-8
Hardcover - 978-1-4713-4662-0
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