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The Yellow Birds (2012)

by Kevin Powers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,6711298,018 (3.76)230
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.
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» See also 230 mentions

English (121)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (128)
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
Sharon Rudnick rec
  wordloversf | Aug 14, 2021 |
Can one speak poetically of war? Well, this book is proof that it is possible. I really enjoyed, and I want to recommend to everyone around me. Yet, I don’t intend to ever read it again, I found it unbearably painful.

A disclaimer is necessary, I listened to it in audiobook, a format that I wonder added to it after reading other reviewers who found the writing contrived.

I posted in another discussion board the fact that I wanted to make this book mandatory reading in High Schools. My comment was that living in a rural area in Alberta, Canada, I see teenagers considering a military career as a way to get cheap post-secondary education. This book would be an eye opener to them, I hope.
( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
This is something that I normally wouldn't have picked up, but did as part of my "contemporary fiction for reluctant high school readers" resolution this year. The topic is an ugly one, but the writing is surprisingly lyrical and lovely, though it is a little difficult to always tell what happening exactly since we are limited by the narrator's perspective.

I'm definitely putting this one on the list for the high schoolers. ( )
  resoundingjoy | Jan 1, 2021 |
Incredible. ( )
  shaundeane | Sep 13, 2020 |
It’s unfortunate that some have found it necessary to deal harshly with this book, though one understands why.

The big commercial publishers have a new game to play whereby they carefully manipulate the media into a foregone conclusion that this writer is the one we have all been waiting for.

Rest here:


http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/the-yellow-birds-by-kevin-... ( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
A remarkable, beautifully understated, powerful, yet poised novel.
 
The novel moves, fitfully, through Virginia and Iraq and Germany and New Jersey and Kentucky, from 2003 to 2009. Recalling the war, Bartle says, is “like putting a puzzle together from behind: the shapes familiar, the picture quickly fading, the muted tan of the cardboard backing a tease at wholeness and completion.” This serves the story in two ways. First, it turns readers into active participants, enlisting them in a sense as co-authors who fit together the many memories and guess at what terrible secret lies in wait, the truth behind Murphy’s death. Because they lean forward instead of back, because they participate in piecing together the puzzle, they are made more culpable.

Then too, the fractured structure replicates the book’s themes. Like a chase scene made up of sentences that run on and on and ultimately leave readers breathless, or like a concert description that stops and starts, that swings and sways, that makes us stamp our feet and clap our hands — the nonlinear design of Powers’s novel is a beautifully brutal example of style matching content. War destroys. It doesn’t just rip through bone and muscle, stone and steel; it fragments the mind as a fist to a mirror might create thousands of bloodied, glittering shards.
 
...and while few will have expected the war in Iraq to bring forth a novel that can stand beside All Quiet on the Western Front or The Red Badge of Courage, The Yellow Birds does just that, for our time, as those books did for theirs.
added by Milesc | editThe Guardian, John Burnside (Aug 31, 2012)
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Powers, KevinAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Abelsen, PeterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
A yellow bird   With a yellow bill   Was perched upon   My windowsill     I lured him in   With a piece of bread   And then I smashed   His fucking head.. ----- Traditional U.S. Army Marching Cadence ------
To be ignorant of evils to come, and forgetfull of evils past, is a mercifull provision in nature, whereby we digest the mixture of our few and eveil dayes, and our delivered senses not relapsing into cutting remembrances, our sorrows are not kept raw by the edge of repetitions.   ----- Sir Thomas Browne
Dedication
For my wife
Στη γυναίκα μου
First words
The war tried to kill us in the spring.
Quotations
If you get back to the States in your head before your ass is there too, then you are a fucking dead man.
It reminded me of talking, how what is said is never quite what was thought, and what is heard is never quite what was said, it wasn't much in the way of comfort, but everything has a little failure in it, and we still make do somehow.
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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.

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Book description
Bartle , 21 ans , est soldat en Irak à Al Tafar. Depuis l'entraînement , lui et Murph , 18 an sont inseparables . Bartle a fait la promesse de le ramener vivant au pays . Une promesse qu'il n'a pas pu tenir ... Murphy hante dès lors ses rêves de soldat et , plus tard de veteran.
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