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The Yellow Birds (2012)

de Kevin Powers

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1,7551338,546 (3.77)250
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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» Mira també 250 mencions

Anglès (124)  Danès (2)  Francès (2)  Alemany (2)  Castellà (1)  Neerlandès (1)  Totes les llengües (132)
Es mostren 1-5 de 132 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Shortly after starting this book, I would have been predicting a 3 star review; but as I got into it more, I really enjoyed the feelings and descriptions about a soldier's experiences with death, war, and having to come back to the "real" world afterwards.

Have you ever thought you could not imagine the hell that soldiers have to go through? The author does a great job in describing just that. ( )
  rjdycus | Dec 19, 2022 |
A powerful novel about war and choices one makes in war. Beautifully written. The flashbacks and forward kept the story interesting. Reminiscent of The Things They Carried in writing style and motifs. ( )
  JuliaBull | Apr 11, 2022 |
"There is a sharp distinction between what is remembered, what is told and what is true."

The narrator of is a twenty-one year old US private, John Bartle, who befriends an even younger soldier, Murphy, and makes an impulsive promise to Murphy’s mother before heading out to war in Iraq.

The plot spans six years and is told retrospectively mixing two story lines in alternating chapters. The first is Bartle’s and Murphy’s experiences in Al Tafar in 2004 whilst the other is Bartle’s return home to Richmond, Virginia, as he tries to adjust to life after Iraq, and what happened to Murphy and his own role in the aftermath.

Powers mixes poetry with prose to give a truly stylish rendition of the horror of war where it's young participants are constantly fearful and on alert, where nerves are continually on edge. The power in the writing is that the author manages to juxtapose the awful with the mundane.

“I shot him and he slumped over behind the wall. He was shot again by someone else and the bullet went through his chest and ricocheted, breaking a potted plant hanging from a window above the courtyard.”

The conjunction with a bullet ending a man’s life and a potted plant is typical of Powers's writing style. However, I also had a few minor issues with it. I felt that a little judicious editing would have helped, at times I felt that it went a little overboard not just about the brutality that these young men and women faced daily but also the mis-information that was being fed both to them and to the American public as a whole, nor was I totally convinced that the momentous decision that Bartle and his Sergeant make was a strictly necessary one even though I understand the reasoning behind it by two brutalised minds. Personally I felt that Powers was trying to batter the reader into submission rather than let them come to their own conclusions.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh. Perhaps the real problem that history tells us this was a war with no real definitive winner one way or the other but it could also be that it was simply too recent, too close to home (my brother served out there with the British Army). Or it could be a simple case of poor timing given what is happening in the Ukraine at present and its the 40th anniversary of my own experiences in the Falklands.

All the same for a first novel its a remarkable piece of writing that deserves to be widely read but oddly I feel that if it had been written in memoir form rather than a novel it would have been even better. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Apr 5, 2022 |
Manu militari envolez-vous avec le Yellow Bird de Kevin Powers. Je retombe difficilement.

https://www.noid.ch/yellow-bird/ ( )
  noid.ch | Mar 17, 2022 |
Read this powerful book by an Iraq war veteran! ( )
  Martha_Thayer | Jan 13, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 132 (següent | mostra-les totes)
A remarkable, beautifully understated, powerful, yet poised novel.
afegit per Milesc | editaThe Independent, Lesley McDowell (Jun 23, 2013)
 
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.
afegit per Milesc | editaThe Guardian, John Burnside (Aug 31, 2012)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (6 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Powers, KevinAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Abelsen, PeterTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Graham, HolterNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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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
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For my wife
Στη γυναίκα μου
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The war tried to kill us in the spring.
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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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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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