In his intense debut, Powers turns his experiences as a U.S. Army machine gunner in Iraq into an angry, searching ode to what his protagonist calls ”a s— ty little war.” Much of the story takes place inside the burdened mind of Private Bartle, who obsesses over a tragic incident whose details aren’t divulged until the end. The Yellow Birds hops through time disjointedly, effectively mirroring Bartle’s shaken sense of consciousness. While Powers occasionally lapses into abstraction to fill the spaces in his relatively sparse plot, he effectively shows how, for these soldiers, war isn’t hell. It’s purgatory. B+
WELCOME TO PURGATORY The Yellow Birds chronicles a soldier's psychological turmoil following a tragic incident
Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Posted October 5 2012 — 12:00 AM EDT
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