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The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
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The Yellow Birds (2012)

by Kevin Powers

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,3711178,082 (3.78)210
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» See also 210 mentions

English (109)  German (2)  Danish (2)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (116)
Showing 1-5 of 109 (next | show all)
Did not enjoy this book
  BabsW | May 12, 2018 |
In a bloody battle in Al Tafar, Iraq, two soldiers face an onslaught of insurgents from every side.
This book goes through the bonds of training for war, the horrors of war, and trying to adjust after returning home.
  mcmlsbookbutler | May 7, 2018 |
This book was a poetic masterpiece - and a book about war - what it feels like inside of one's heart and head and body when living in the pure hell that war is. I don't read about combat and this book was about that - I don't read about Iraq or the war in Iraq and this book was about that too. But then again, it was about so much more - the numbness of being overcome by a life experience that is beyond excruciating, the camaraderie that is based on sharing an ordeal that makes no sense, the other-worldliness of trying to make sense of the senseless and eventually giving up on that.

Powers' book did all that for me - the words were captivating and because this was written by an Iraq war veteran who is also a poet, the full picture of the war felt even more authentic. Reading Yellow Birds was more of an enveloping experience than just a great read. ( )
  njinthesun | Feb 7, 2018 |
Man I really wanted to like this, but I didn't. Maybe it's because I like Tim O'Brien so much and was expecting this to be like that, maybe because I was reading it during a stressful time of year for school, maybe because so much of what being in a war is like now sounds cliched. Who knows. It's like the author and I spoke very different languages, and I found his language to be boring and unrelatable. ( )
  Abbey_Harlow | Oct 5, 2017 |
This is not a book to be enjoyed but it is very profound in its telling of the effects of war on soldiers.
John Bartle befriends fellow soldier Daniel Murphy before they embark for Iraq. However the war has a profound effect on both of these young men leaving one dead and one suffering PTSD. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jun 25, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 109 (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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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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316219363, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, Debut Spotlight, September 2012: With The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers introduces himself as a writer of prodigious talent and ambition. The novel opens in 2004, when two soldiers, 21-year-old Bartle and the teenaged Murphy, meet in boot camp on the eve of their deployment to Iraq. Bartle, bound by a promise to Murphy's mother to guide him home safely, takes the young private under his wing as they move through the bloody conflict that "rubbed its thousand ribs against the ground in prayer." Powers, an Iraq veteran, eyes the casual violence of war with a poet's precision but without romanticism, moving confidently between scenes of blunt atrocity and almost hallucinatory detachment with Hemingway-like economy and prose that shimmers like desert heat. Compact and emotionally intense, The Yellow Birds joins a maturing and impressive collection of Iraq War literature--both memoir and fiction--that includes Brian Castner's The Long Walk and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. --Jon Foro

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:51 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

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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