The Yellow Birds (Kevin Powers)

Set against the backdrop of war, this novel delves into the intertwined lives of two soldiers and explores themes of friendship, loss, and the haunting effects of combat. Through a complex narrative, it offers a thought-provoking examination of the human experience in the midst of conflict.

Author: Kevin Powers
Category: war
Year of publication: 2012
Pages: 241





Plot Complexity: moderate
Language Complexity: moderate
Ideas Complexity: high

The Yellow Birds has a moderately complex narrative with multiple interwoven storylines and subplots, employing a moderately complex language that goes beyond the basics, offering depth and variety to the narrative. In terms of ideas, the novel is classified under highly complex, presenting notably complex and intellectually engaging themes that delve into the psychological impact of war, friendship, loss, and moral dilemmas.


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.


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