Live Bookclub webchat with Kevin Powers, author of the award-winning novel The Yellow Birds, Tuesday 30 July, 9-10pm

(77 Posts)

'Beautiful' is a peculiar word to describe a war novel, but our July Book of the Month is overwhelmingly beautiful. THE YELLOW BIRDS follows a young soldier's experience fighting in Iraq, his friendship with his comrades, his moments of combat, and his disorientation when discharged back to civilian life. The book moves back and forth in time, between the battalion's arrival in the desert and John's haunted post-war existence, unable to deal with the pride and admiration of his family and friends or the terrible sensation 'like there was acid seeping down into your soul and then your soul is gone...' It is an intense reading experience - and one of harrowing truthfulness. Every moment, every image, is a precise and startlingly original vision of war and its effects. The writing is exquisitely poetic in places and brutally raw in others - the book has already won the Guardian First Book Award and the Pen Hemingway Award. THE YELLOW BIRDS is a modern classic that should be on must-read lists for years to come.

The book has been highly acclaimed across the globe, by journalists and a plethora of famous authors: you can find all the rave reviews on Kevin's official website.

Hodder have 50 copies to give to Mumsnetters - to claim yours please fill in your details on the book of the month page. We'll post on here when all the copies have gone. If you're not lucky enough to bag one of the free books, you can always get your paperback or Kindle version here.

We are thrilled that Kevin will be answering questions about THE YELLOW BIRDS, his prizes and his writing career on Tuesday 30 July, 9-10pm. So please feel free to discuss the book here throughout the month, and then come and chat to Kevin on Tue 30 July. Look forward to seeing you all there...

gingercat12 Wed 19-Jun-13 13:59:08

I read Yellow Birds in January, and I just could not put it down. It was probably the most beautiful and most poignant book I am likely to read this year, and it is a tough competition, as luckily most of my reads were superb this year. Thanks a lot!

sb6699 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:34:52

I actually put this on my amazon wish list a couple of weeks ago. Will definately be reading it. Based on the reviews it seems to be one of those that has to be on the 'books I've read' list.

kaydeed Thu 20-Jun-13 15:49:49

This book has been highly recommended by a couple of others mums. Sounds like a thought provoking read.

stewartlaura67 Tue 25-Jun-13 12:41:03

This book was recommended to be by one of my DD’s mom. It’s wonderful.

I'm so glad everyone has given it thumbs up - I am so impressed by this book, and keep sending copies to all my family and friends. Absolutely one of my top books of the year.

Very much hope you all manage to get your hands on a copy, please do try to beg, borrow or steal one if you don't get a freebie. It is really not to be missed.

Speaking of free copies, I think the names have now been picked out of the hat and the winners should be receiving theirs soon - I'll post on the thread when the publisher has confirmed they've been sent out.

Copies being sent out now, should be with the lucky winners middle of next week.

I promise you'll race through it, so should be enough time to finish before Kevin comes to join us.

MumnGran Tue 09-Jul-13 12:48:56

Absolutely thrilled to receive my copy today from the publishers. Thank you. Such a surprise, and can't wait to start reading ....hot summer day, no children/grandchildren ...I feel an afternoon under the sunshade and happy reading, coming on!!

girlie26 Tue 09-Jul-13 13:06:21

Thank you for my copy. Need to wait now until wkend to start reading it. Hope its as good as everyone is saying

Eirwen Tue 09-Jul-13 13:30:56

The postman has just arrived with my copy. This was a lovely surprise as I hadn't received an e-mail! grin Really looking forward to reading it but not sure when I can begin as there is a lot going on here at the moment. Thank you to Mumsnet and Hodder & Stoughton.

Just received my copy - thank you smile Just need to finish my current book and I'll get cracking - looks fab smile

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 09-Jul-13 16:42:22

Excellent, we're glad copies are arriving. There's plenty of time to read - Kevin's joining us on Tues 30 July at 9pm. Please put it in your diary. There's lots to discuss.

girlie26 Mon 15-Jul-13 21:37:22

Beautifully written, you're drawn into the friendship and want to see how it evolves. Had to concentrate at times due to the scenes alternating.

Question-Did you consider writing the story chronologically? And if so, why didnt you?

Reading this well written, observed book-experience of reading about war differs to that of what you read in newspapers etc

Time for any advance questions, please - I'll be sending them to Kevin this weekend, so please pop them up here as soon as you can. Don't worry if you haven't finished it, you can still come on and ask Kevin about his writing and his inspiration behind the book.

Looking forward to next Tuesday evening immensely...

pinkfiss Wed 24-Jul-13 13:45:06

This book is fantastic could not put it down, truly moving and beautifully written, thankyou for the copy. Will be recommending it to my friends&family.

Isis1981uk Wed 24-Jul-13 14:03:58

I was really excited to get this book and I found the imagery to be brilliant - I really got a sense of place and could almost feel the heat reflecting off the white buildings.

However, I can't pinpoint the reason but the story just did not hook me and I stopped reading it about 3/4 of the way through. I rarely give up on books but I just wasn't feeling it with this. I think that it was just too slow-moving for a Summer read and I'll blame the heat rather than the writing as I found it hard to focus. Maybe one to leave until Winter! I can certainly see it doing well as a recommended book for teenage boys due to the war backdrop & masculine voice.

Uzma01 Wed 24-Jul-13 14:05:06

I tend not to read too many books based on war, as I'm never really sure how it will be portrayed. But that said this is a beautifully written book, about a not so beautiful subject matter. Powers tells a moving story about the uncertainty of war, and the ramifications suffered by those involved. Would recommend, so I'll pass my copy around a couple of friends.

ResNulis Wed 24-Jul-13 14:17:26

I am unable to join the webchat this evening, but very much wanted to post - both to thank you for my copy of the Yellow Birds, and to say how impressed I was by this book.
The subject would not normally have tempted me, but I had read such excellent reviews that I was encouraged, and was fully rewarded.
It is a rare thing, these days, to find a book so evocative of both atmosphere and human spirit in such well crafted and eloquent prose. I recently re-read The Grapes of Wrath, and found much in the Yellow Birds which reminded me of this classic.
An emotive, stunning read.

I would be most interested to know if the author found writing to be cathartic in dealing with the remaining issues of his own return to homelife.

HazelDormouse Thu 25-Jul-13 14:01:28

Whilst I appreciate the skill that the author shows in creating such a beautifully, well written novel, I can not say that I enjoyed it. I found the subject matter, and indeed the characters, too disturbing. However, this is perhaps what will make it into a 'classic' in years to come. For some reason, I found it more depressing than the novels that I read many years ago relating to the First World War.

Definitely worth reading.

SunshinePanda Sat 27-Jul-13 20:52:27

This book makes me so pleased to be part of MN book club as I would probably not have chosen this book myself but found it both moving and insightful. Certainly the language used added to the depth of the story as did the complexity of the relationships between the main characters. When you were writing, how pivotal to the development of the story was the promise made to Murphy's mother?

Thanks to everyone for advance questions which are now winging their way to Kevin in the US.

Feel free to keep posting comments or questions here and looking forward to discussing it all with you on Tuesday night. So much to talk about with this book.

See you Tues, 9pm...

nuggie Mon 29-Jul-13 06:55:55

I am really enjoying the book and am also really enjoying the insight into post war life. It is realy questions and making me think and look differently at what is around me and watching the news with Afghanistan still going on which I am liking to Iraq.
I am really surprised at how beautifully the book is written the words remind me of Japanese Haiku at times - for such a turbulent subject it has a calm dream like presents as though I am watching it with the sound turned off.
It is unlike anything that I would have picked up myself which is the whole reason for joining book clubs and am pleased to be enlightened into another world albeit briefly.

nuggie Mon 29-Jul-13 06:57:11

ps - Thank you for the book!

KevinPowers Mon 29-Jul-13 11:21:37

Test post. I'm looking forward to the chat tomorrow.

Thanks,
Kevin

mignonette Mon 29-Jul-13 11:51:01

Kevin- Thank you so much for your book.

"I've always had a certain level of comfort with the dark part of the human experience"- Kevin Powers-Guardian June 2013

Have your experiences at war modified this at all?

What response have you had from fellow veterans?

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