Dear Great Book Guru, This past weekend, I saw the much touted film "Zero Dark Thirty" about the capturing of Osama Bin Laden. I was underwhelmed ,and afterwards when I was discussing it with friends, someone suggested I read a novel ( YELLOW BIRDS- was the title, I think) about our military involvement in the Arab wars for another perspective . Have you heard of it and, if so, would you recommend it? Wanting to Understand
Dear Wanting to Understand, I saw "Zero Dark Thirty" with our Cinema Cliff Club and the reactions were mixed- some seeing it as a great artistic achievement and others bewildered by its popularity. But, yes, I have read THE YELLOW BIRDS by Kevin Powers and what a powerful book it is! Told in the voice of twenty-one year-old John Bartles, the novel spans five years: 2004 to 2009, with chapters set in Al Tafar, Iraq; Richmond, Virginia; and Fort Knox, Kentucky . The daily lives of Iraqi civilians, Bartles, his fellow soldiers, their commanders and families back home are recounted in painful detail. When eighteen year old Daniel Murphy's mother asks Bartles to bring her son safely home to her, he assumes what becomes an emotionally devastating burden. The horrors these two young men endure are recorded in a strangely dreamlike lyricism. An underlying mystery that is made clear only in the final chapters permeates our narrator's psyche and ours throughout. Recommended!