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Book Review: The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers


The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

This is a poetic, beautiful and powerful novel that highlights the brutality of war and its terrible impact afterwards. Written by an Iraq war veteran, the author has drawn on his own experiences to create a novel that is profoundly insightful. John is haunted by Murph, a fellow soldier, who didn’t make it back from the war. They bonded through basic training when twenty one-year-old John was instructed to look after eighteen-year-old Murph. They both joined the army because they longed for something more after feeling they had lived lives that were too small. John had promised Murph’s mother he would bring her son home, but by fighting in such a brutal war it was never a promise he should have made as it was unlikely he would be able to keep it. He lives with the regret, the guilt, the remorse, that he made it home unhurt while Murph did not.

This is lyrical, devastating novel of war, loss and grief. It is the rare book that belongs to sit on the book shelf alongside novels by Ernest Hemmingway. Compelling, brilliant and heartbreakingly true, I urge you to read this masterpiece.

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