Spotlight on The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

The Yellow Birds has been heralded as “a war novel written by a veteran of Iraq, The Yellow Birds is the harrowing story of two soldiers trying to stay alive in the most unforgiving of landscapes.” (from the jacket copy)


Recently, Powers was nominated for a National Book Award in fiction for his debut.

I am about to begin reading this novel. The following comes from the jacket copy:

“‘The war tried to kill us in the spring,’ begins this breathtaking 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.  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.

Bound together since basic training, when their tough-as-nails sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.  As reality begins to blur into a hazy nightmare, Murphy becomes increasingly unmoored from the world around him, and Bartle takes impossible actions.

With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a distant war on mothers and families at home, The Yellow Birds captures the almost unimaginable costs of war in language that is precise and truthful.  It is destined to become a classic.

Kevin Powers joined the army at the age of seventeen and served as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq, in 2004 and 2005. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2008 and is a Michener Fellow in Poetry at the University of Texas at Austin.”

Powers knows war, and this could just take home a National Book Award in fiction.




Filed under books, fiction, history, literary fiction

4 responses to “Spotlight on The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers

  1. This sounds excellent — I’m really looking forward to your review.

  2. The Yellow Birds caught my eye at BEA, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Really looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

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