“The war tried to kill us in the spring.” Thus begins the gut-wrenching narrative of young Private Bartle in Kevin Powell’s debut novel, The Yellow Birds.
Bartle signs up to serve in the Iraq Wars, to become a man and escape the demanding responsibilities imposed on an adolescent living in a broken home. With youthful vigor and enthusiasm, he makes a rash promise to the mother of his army training buddy, Murphy: that he will take care of Murphy and bring him safely home.
On the harsh desert plains of Nineveh, among lone flowering hyacinths and orchards scarred by mortar shells, the soldiers receive their baptism of fire and turn into relentless killing machines in an effort to not become just another deathly statistic.
Compared in turn to the disturbing Thin Red Line and the lyrical All Quiet on the Western Front, The Yellow Birds is destined to become a wartime classic.
Get a taste of battlefront rations with a simple beans-rice-corn salad enhanced by a Middle Eastern dressing of yoghurt, olive oil, lime, cumin, caraway seeds and avocado. Sample eye-stinging Virginia bourbon from the smoky woodlands of Bartle’s native state.