The Yellow Birds
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.
Longlisted for The Guardian First Book Award 2012
'Reaffirms the power of fiction to tell the truth about the unspeakable ... a superb literary achievement. I urge everyone to read it.' - Chris Cleave, author of The Other Hand
Written with an intensity which is deeply compelling.' - Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn
'Thus far the definitive novel of our long wars in the Middle East; this book is certain to be read and taught for generations to come.' - Philipp Meyer, author of American Rust
'The Yellow Birds is harrowing, inexplicably beautiful and utterly, urgently necessary.' - Ann Patchett, author of the Orange Prize-winning Bel Canto and Orange-shortlisted State of Wonder
'The most recent war is much like the most ancient, torn bodies, cracked psyches, the emotional roundelay of pride, pain, confusion and sorrow. In The yellow Birds, Kevin Powers has delivered an exceptional novel from the war in Iraq, written in clean, evocative prose, lyric and graphic, in assured rhythms, a story for today and tomorrow and the next.' - Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone
Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he was a Michener Fellow in Poetry. He served in the US Army in 2004 and 2005 in Iraq, where he was deployed as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar. This is his first novel.