The Yellow Birds: A Novel
Kevin Powers entered the US army at the age of seventeen. For a year he served in Iraq. After leaving the army and a number of useless jobs, he went to the University of Virginia to study English. He is currently teaching poetry at the University of Texas in Austin. With The Yellow Birds, he wrote, according to many, the great novel about the war in Iraq.
The Yellow Birds is the story of the young soldier Bartle, for whom the Iraq war is a hopeless void. His endless days are full of death and ruin, but especially boredom. In a desperate attempt to get hold of his frustrations, Bartle clings to the companionship with his fellow men, especially his friend Murphy. Kevin C. Powers lets the reader be an eyewitness, guilty party and martyr all at the same time in a breathtaking book which has been translated in 16 languages already.
"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.
With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on mothers and families at home, The Yellow Birds is a groundbreaking novel that is destined to become a classic.