This books deserves to rank among the top modern war novels, but listeners looking for a war adventure or listeners looking for a triumph of spirit will be disappointed. But this well narrated book drills down to capture the alienation of thoughtful soldiers and veterans. I was emotionally and intellectually transported back to my Vietnam days. The plot is in fact a modest mystery that unfolds ingeniously as the narration moves back and forth between the war and the narrator's return to the states. Descriptions are often poetic, dialogue simple and raw. Holter Graham does a great job for me of capturing the young voices (they were all young) of the troops in Afghanistan and the accents of the narrators and his ill fated "charge," Murphy.
I would highly recommend this audiobook to anyone interested in war, particularly the after effects of being in highly intense, traumatic situations. The novel is detailed, compelling, and quite indicative of the mental and emotional toll the Iraqi war has had on our generation of veterans.
I haven't read too many books like this, but I've read in other reviews that this is sort of like the modern day version of "All Is Calm On The Western Front".
Graham conveys the emotion of the characters very well, especially during some of the internal monologues.
Absolutely. About 3/4 of way into the story, there's a particularly epic internal monologue/rant where the main character essentially vents all the pent up emotion at once, and you hear first hand what kind of impact such experiences can have on a young man.
A solid first novel from Kevin Powers, the story is captivating and gripping, and I found it hard to put down as soon as I got it.
Say something about yourself!
I would recommend this audiobook to anyone who has been touched by the Iraq war--especially those left behind on the home front. I believe that Matterhorn was the definitive novel of Viet Nam, and Yellow Birds may be the same for Iraq. Kevin Powers writes beautifully--the language alone is worth the price of the book.The story is both difficult and powerful. It was challenging to try to guess the final outcome as the plot was so well executed. It was easy to visualize the main characters, who were strongly written. The settings were also very easy to visualize because of Powers' gift with descriptive words and phrases.
Two books that compare to The Yellow Birds are The Red Badge of Courage for the American Civil War and Matterhorn for the Viet Nam conflict. All three books are written from the perspective of young, inexperienced soldiers and all three contain great poignancy as the main characters struggle to make sense of their experiences.
This is the first time I have purchased a book read by Holter Graham. While listening, I thought that perhaps it was being read by the author because the delivery was so personal. He was able to capture accents beautifully, as well as convey both drudgery and despair. His military voices and the voices of interpreters were especially powerful. It was easy to forget about the reader, as the story was so well delivered.
I don't often find a book that deserves five stars in all categories, but it was easy to give this audible's highest rating. Although not an easy read, it is a story that will remain with the listener. Well defined characters, setting and plot make this a great choice for the discerning listener.
So says Private Bartle in the 'Yellow Birds'. This book in concert with the novel 'Matterhorn' and the movie 'The Hurt Locker' have assisted me in having a little insight into the devastating impact that war has on the ordinary men and women not only the active participants but those at home. To some degree, in this age of instant news and our own short term attention span, sometimes wars such as Iraq and Afghanistan do not register as wars. As the protagonist refers to Iraq as 'our little pest of a war'. We need to focus our attention and support on these brave men and women. 'The Yellow Birds' is a terrific book, well read and a real punch in the gut. Two thumbs up !!!!!
The descriptions are so potent and tangible, it doesn't take much imagination to transport yourself into his shoes, though it's not really a place anyone wants to be. It communicates a very sobering, true-to-life glimpse of the modern day soldier's experience, and I feel helps the reader to better understand the situation.
There were several. Of course the big reveal of how Murphy is killed is probably the most memorable and shocking. I also thought the picture of the bleeding horse coming down into the water was memorable.
Very convincing voice - he conveyed the raw emotion in a tempered (albeit harsh) way that felt true to the way the author would read it, stating the truth without shying from the awfulness of it (without being whiny or overly dramatic).
A young soldier, tasked with an impossible burden...
...to keep his friend safe.
This is not about the bravado of fighting in war or the glory of overcoming one's enemies. It is a deeply insightful glimpse into the mind of a man, mentally savaged by the reality of the new war in the middle east. Take from it what you will, but it is difficult to believe this is fiction. It must be based on true experience for it to have the kind of sharp, pungent accuracy it does in its detailed and rich descriptions. Those are not the sorts of details that can be made up by someone outside of that reality.
No. The narrator's interpretation is wrong.
Certainly. He shows great promise as a thinker and writer.
Anyone who prefers a little decaf before reading.
No. The printed book is readable in a sitting.
I can't imagine that Powers had any input into the narration.
'The Yellow Birds' is pretty typical war book fare. The one time it gets beyond that is when he comes home and everybody is congratulating hin om killing all those hadjis. Then he knows he is not deserving of praise, because he had unbelievably stronger fire power which he used indiscriminately. A book about the Iraq War from the Iraqi viewpoint would be much more interesting.