Why did I read it?
I read a review of this in The Guardian a while ago which sounded good, then I saw it on one of the tables in Swansea Waterstones on a ‘3 for 2’ deal so bought it!
Modern/ literary fiction, war fiction
A former US Army soldier reflects on his, harrowing, time in Iraq.
This book really blew me away. For someone to write so beautifully about something so horrible is a real achievement. Real-life former soldier Powers has drawn comparisons to First World War poets like Wilfred Owen for example, and I think this is justified. Written in the form of flashbacks, the novel jumps around in time revealing the narrator’s experience before, during and after his part in the Iraq War. Its not a spoiler, as you learn about it quite quickly, to say that main character Bartle’s best friend Murph dies so the reader is waiting to find out how it happens. You know that whatever happened it was brutal and horrific, yet even so the actual event still comes as a shock; you share Bartle’s growing fear and, when he is back from Iraq, you sympathise with his inability to live back in the ‘real world’. In short, an incredibly powerful modern testament to the horrors of war.