The Yellow Birds, Kevin Powers. This book. This book. I have never taken so long to read such a short book. Not because it was one of those books not worth the time, but because this book is worth the time.
Not a page went by I didn’t take in a breath and go back and read it again, even more slowly, sometimes many times before I could move on. It is a beautifully written, mesmerising book. It is also utterly devastating. It should be essential reading for anyone responsible for starting a war, and for anyone thinking of starting one, and for everyone in between. It is about the intimate experience of war, about the failure of memory to make sense of it, and about the necessity of trying to do just that. It is a psychological journey and is also a philosophical one – about choice, about memory, about trying to live and live on, but most of all it is about the disintegration war reaps at every level.
While there may be some faces missing from the last pages which I felt should have also been present in the shadows beneath the trees or traced along the lines of a map, this book leads you on an unforgettable journey, along a path of fires burning in the dust.