"The war tried to kill us in the spring," begins this breathtaking account of friendship and loss. In Al Tafar, Iraq, 21-year-old Private Bartle and 18-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger. Bound together since basic training when their tough-as-nails sergeant ordered Bartle to watch over Murphy, the two have been dropped into a war neither is prepared for.
"Sad and Unforgettable"
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....
"Excellence all round"
National Book Award finalist, Iraq war veteran, novelist, and poet Kevin Powers creates a deeply affecting portrait of a life shaped by war. Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting captures the many moments that comprise a soldier's life: Driving down the Texas highway; waiting for the unknown in the dry Iraq heat; writing a love letter; listening to a mother recount her dreams. Written with evocative language and discernment, Powers' poetry strives to make sense of the war and its echoes through human experience.