Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Book Review: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

Kevin Powers is a man who definitely lives up to his name; producing what could only be described as a truly power-ful (see what I did there?!) novel.
Powers himself served as a machine gunner with the US Army in Iraq and this experience really seemed to translate through the construction of the text, reading this book about a veteran during his time in Iraq and his coming home to the States, you really get a sense of truth and even an almost semi-autobiographical quality.
The story of the veteran retuning to society is inter-laced with what actually happened to him whilst he was serving. There’s a really nice balance of  the ‘now’ and the reflective within the story which makes his storytelling, at the book itself all the more compelling. I need to take a second out here for just one thing. I need to say to you that for a first novel Powers needs to be given every award going because his prose is absolutely outstanding. Honestly if you want to read an amazing book this year, this is it. As the story unfolds, and you learn everything this character has gone through, you are left with a beautifully told harrowing, tense, raw and tragic account of a life that most of us will never encounter.
As an avid reader, and I’m sure I’m not alone here, I am not always looking just for enjoyment and fun out of books. I am looking for books that change my thinking, that open my eyes, that move me in indescribable ways. This is one of those books. 

The back blurb for those wanting more is:

"Kevin Powers served as a machine gunner with the US Army in Iraq. On his return, he was asked one question more than any other:
'What was it like over there?'
In his attempt to answer that question. Powers has written one of the most haunting, true and moving novels of our time. It offers a powerful insight into the impact of war on both soldiers and their families, ultimately revealing how it feels to return home, but never be able to leave the memories behind."

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