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Discussion of The Yellow Birds

Amazon Best Books of the Month, Debut Spotlight, September 2012: With The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers introduces himself as a writer of prodigious talent and ambition. The novel opens in 2004, when two soldiers, 21-year-old Bartle and the teenaged Murphy, meet in boot camp on the eve of their deployment to Iraq. Bartle, bound by a promise to Murphy's mother to guide him home safely, takes the young private under his wing as they move through the bloody conflict that "rubbed its thousand ribs against the ground in prayer." Powers, an Iraq veteran, eyes the casual violence of war with a poet's precision but without romanticism, moving confidently between scenes of blunt atrocity and almost hallucinatory detachment with Hemingway-like economy and prose that shimmers like desert heat. Compact and emotionally intense, The Yellow Birds joins a maturing and impressive collection of Iraq War literature--both memoir and fiction--that includes Brian Castner's The Long Walk and Ben Fountain's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. --Jon Foro --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. Review

"The All Quiet on the Western Front of America's Arab wars." (Tom Wolfe )

"The Yellow Birds is harrowing, inexplicably beautiful, and utterly, urgently necessary." (Ann Patchett )

"A remarkable first novel...The Yellow Birds is brilliantly observed and deeply affecting: at once a freshly imagined bildungsroman about a soldier's coming of age, a harrowing story about the friendship of two young men trying to stay alive on the battlefield in Iraq, and a philosophical parable about the loss of innocence and the uses of memory...Extraordinary." (The New York Times Michiko Kakutani )

"Kevin Powers' The Yellow Birds is written with an intensity which is deeply compelling; every moment, every memory, every object, every move, are conjured up with a fierce and exact concentration and sense of truth." (Colm Toibin )

"A novel about the poetry and the pity of war...Powers writes with a rawness that brings the sights and smells as well as the trauma and decay of war home to the reader." (Kirkus )

"Thoughtful and analytical, the novel resonates as an accurate and deeply felt portrayal of the effects of post-combat syndrome as experienced by soldiers in the disorienting war in Iraq. " (Library Journal, starred review )

"This moving debut from Powers (a former Army machine gunner) is a study of combat, guilt, and friendship forged under fire....Powers's style and story are haunting." (Publisher's Weekly, starred review )


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  • Dennis L H.

    Thanks Stephany for including me! I'm sure I missed a great discussion, but probably needed to sit that one out. I will be visiting my daughter in Oregon during our next meet up but am enjoying "The Age of Miracles" right now. I look forward to seeing everyone for that discussion.

    August 28, 2013

  • Edwin M.

    I found the discussion quite enjoyable, and insightful.

    August 25, 2013

  • stephany

    Dennis wasn't able to attend but sent a letter which I read during the meeting. It was such a heartfelt response some thought it was better than the novel. A great discussion.

    1 · August 25, 2013

  • Nancy L.

    Another great discussion. I second Andy's comment that these discussions often make me like the books more. Everyone brings their unique perspectives to the group, and I appreciate that so much. Thank you everyone!

    August 25, 2013

  • Raghu

    good discussion today...sad that i couldnt complete the book before the discussion...looking fwd for the next meetup...

    August 25, 2013

  • Beatriz

    Very good, most members vere very engaged in the discussion.

    August 25, 2013

  • James H.

    Miss the people in this dynamic, engaging group - with school's start any reading I seem to do is to stay a few pages ahead of my students and to keep up with my six preps. If/when the dust settles (wishful thinking?) I will try to get read and get there.

    August 24, 2013

  • Maurício

    Just joined. Will try to catch on the next book.

    August 20, 2013

  • Edwin M.

    New to the group and will try and read as much of the book as possible before the meeting. Look forward to just taking the exchange in. First time ever...

    August 20, 2013

  • Wendy

    Bummer but I'll have to miss this one too....Enjoy!!

    August 19, 2013

  • Beatriz

    I will attend he meeting but I won't be discussing the book since I just joined today August 17. Right now I am reading "The Orphan Master's Son". I know I will enjoy listening to the discussion of "The Yellow Birds".

    August 17, 2013

  • Kerry C.

    I'm so disappointed that I'll be missing this one. I was looking forward to re-reading and discussing the book. It's one of my favorites of the year so far. But I'll be in Hawaii (yeah, poor me). I'm sure you'll have a great discussion!

    August 13, 2013

  • Aimee O.

    I am really enjoying this book. The writing is very engaging.

    August 11, 2013

  • Erika P.

    New to the book cluc circut and looking forward to joining in on the conversation.

    August 7, 2013

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