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WINNER OF THE GUARDIAN FIRST BOOK AWARD 2012 WINNER OF THE HEMINGWAY/PEN AWARD 2012 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST AN AMAZON EDITOR'S PICK: BEST BOOKS OF 2012 A NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOK OF THE YEAR A TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR AN INDEPENDENT BOOK OF THE YEAR A TLS BOOK OF THE YEAR AN EVENING STANDARD BOOK OF THE YEAR A SUNDAY EXPRESS BOOK OF THE YEAR A GUARDIAN BOOK OF THE YEAR A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR A SCOTSMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR A SUNDAY HERALD BOOK OF THE YEAR AN IRISH TIMES BOOK OF THE YEAR An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran and poet, THE YELLOW BIRDS is already being hailed as a modern classic. Everywhere John looks, he sees Murph. He flinches when cars drive past. His fingers clasp around the rifle he hasn't held for months. Wide-eyed strangers praise him as a hero, but he can feel himself disappearing. Back home after a year in Iraq, memories swarm around him: bodies burning in the crisp morning air. Sunlight falling through branches; bullets kicking up dust; ripples on a pond wavering like plucked strings. The promise he made, to a young man's mother, that her son would be brought home safely.
With THE YELLOW BIRDS, poet and veteran Kevin Powers has composed an unforgettable account of friendship and loss. It vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war, and its terrible after-effects. But it is also a story of love, of great courage, and of extraordinary human survival. Written with profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on families at home, THE YELLOW BIRDS is one of the most haunting, true and powerful novels of our time. 'THE YELLOW BIRDS is the All Quiet on the Western Front of America's Arab Wars.' (Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the Vanities ) 'Kevin Powers has conjured a poetic and devastating account of war's effect on the individual.' (Damian Lewis, star of Homeland and Band of Brothers ) 'Inexplicably beautiful'. (Ann Patchett, Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder)
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written fiction that seems more real than the "real" thing. NEWSWEEK 'Powers' poetic gifts render the experience of Americans in Iraq with great emotional intensity. War has been a subject of literature ever since The Iliad. The best books transcend their time and circumstances to say something enduring and truthful about war itself. THE YELLOW BIRDS belongs in that category.' PHILIP CAPUTO, author of A Rumor of War Terrific ... vivid [and] gripping. A very much needed book. MARGARET FORSTER, author of Diary of an Ordinary Woman What happens to soldiers at war? THE YELLOW BIRDS delivers answers that should rightfully unnerve us, if we're still willing - ten long years into Iraq and Afghanistan - to contemplate 'our little pest of a war.' The human cost is surely beyond any comprehensible measure, but in this haunting, unflinching crucible of a novel, Kevin Powers gives us the essence, with all comfortable, corrupting illusion and rhetoric burned away. BEN FOUNTAIN, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk Beautifully written ... This is a harrowing and pitiful story of the sad waste of war. THE LADY 'This book epitomises the power of the written word; the language is at once poetic and brutal, vivid and sparse. A stunning, timely and engrossing novel.' BOOKSELLER What impresses most here are the mournful and melodious refrains which manage to cultivate beauty and pathos from the smothering chaos and dust. WE LOVE THIS BOOK A book that will make you look good on the bus ... a powerful tale. HEAT From an opening that suggests The Waste Land to a closing that echoes The Great Gatsby, Kevin Powers has crafted one of the most beguiling and beautiful war novels of recent times ... its soul spills out over every poetic page. RTE GUIDE That it horrifies with beauty and numbs by way of sensuality is Powers' big achievement SUNDAY INDEPENDENT (DUBLIN) If you're looking for one of the first great novels of the Iraq war, this may be it. CNN.com Extraordinary ... beautifully accomplished. The mark of an artist of the first order ... a must-read book. JOHN BURNSIDE, GUARDIAN It's a sad and deftly written story - and one that can stand tall with the great war novels that preceded it. EMERALD STREET