Yellow Birds, The

Powers, Kevin

  14 Reviews

'A yellow bird, with a yellow bill, was perched upon my windowsill', goes the US Army marching cadence which dictates the beat for its soldiers. John Bartle (21) and Daniel Murphy (18), are about to be deployed to Iraq, but being taught a marching rhythm is one thing, and knowing what they will face in combat is another; personal experience will soon reveal the harrowing nature of what is expected of them.

Both poetic and disturbing, this is a remarkable story of friendship, loss and the unflinching realities of war written by an author who himself is a veteran of the Iraq conflict.



Created lots of discussion especially about war. Most people were reluctant to start reading and took time to get into the book, but were happy they kept reading as it created a better understanding of the story. Well-written.
NAP 005
Mixed response from our group. Some were completely engaged by the writing and its haunting intensity; others felt it was staged and deliberately provocative. What was clear was that the book provoked a response - and consequently the discussion was very lively!
Much discussion. A powerful and poetic novel. Harrowing but very well-written.
All members said it was beautifully (some said poetically) written, even if they only rated it 2! All found the content disturbing, and no one could say they actually enjoyed the read. Provoked lively discussion on war, and the after effects for survivors.
CHCH 396
Mixed feedback. Some aspects of the book weren't clear to us, or didn't ring true. Poetry admired. Led to a more general discussion about war novels.
JERV 001
The only book read by our group, where several members said they will buy a copy. The discussion was very considered and emotional. We all agreed 'The Yellow Birds' was a particularly special book.
GISB 005
Great read! We enjoyed the quality of the prose - haunting, evocative and sad. A great discussion ensued.
Our group was (for once) united in finding this book well worth reading, despite the story containing some harrowing details of war. The language is carefully chosen and vividly evokes the landscapes described, in both geographic and personal senses. The problems of the soldier's re-integration on his return to the USA are clearly depicted. We had a good discussion around all of these topics and more . Highly recommended.
CHCH 171
Much discussion - a worthwhile read. Well-written. We thought he'd make a good counsellor.
CHCH 431
Not a favourite for us. A couple of members found the subject matter distressing, and several of us felt the writer was self-indulgent. Also, the writing was very "clunky" and repetitive - apart from the brilliant first chapter!
ASHB 024
Some found it a really enlightening and worthwhile read, while others detested it. BUT, it was written from the heart, and shows the futility of war. So very sad. One member was reading it for the second time - she didn't like it first time round, but with the second reading had an entirely different reaction and found it very moving. Certainly not a comfortable read.
TAUR 009
We thought the book was gruesome, horrifying and truthful - some of us would just not read it, others thought it an excellent read. It generated much discussion about war, how it affects the people we send to fight for us, and other war books we had read. There was much discussion of the language Powers used - such a contrast to the subject matter - does this add to or detract from his purpose Mixed feelings on this. A difficult read but one that stays with the reader - surely the best recommendation.
A 'gripping' story which generated lots of discussion. We felt that boys are sent into battle with no idea of the reality of war. Those that survive their tour of duty are returned home without the support they need. Awful!
CHCH 054
Harrowing! Beautifully written and insightful. A glimpse into what the young men went through.