Nominated by:

Halifax Public Library, Canada

Bergen Offentlige Bibliotek, Norway

Chicago Public Library, USA

Laramie County Library System, Cheyenne, USA

Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs, USA

Publisher of nominated edition:

Sceptre, UK

Little, Brown & Company, USA

The Yellow Birds

Kevin Powers      

2014 Longlist

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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

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. His debut novel, The Yellow Birds won the Guardian First Book Award 2012 and was a New York Times bestseller in its first week of publication.

Librarians’ Comments

A work of high literary merit. A touching and important story. Very well received by our local readers.

This book shows us, in beautiful prose, and a heart-breaking way, what happens in the heart and head of a young American soldier sent to fight in Iraq. It punches home the senselessness of war.

The Yellow Birds is a very moving novel of the Iraq war, written by a veteran. Short and sparsely written, but the plot and mental images stay with you.

This novel is a beautiful, tragic gut-punch of a book and, with the ten year anniversary of the Iraq War, an absolutely necessary one.

Poetic, haunting, high impact. This story stays with any reader for a long, long time. Speaks to the reality of war in the 21st century.

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