I'm sure most of you have heard about Next Chapter's last day of business. I am not commenting on this because I do not really know the whole story, and I feel there is more to come. That said, it is important for us to note right away that we are going to take over Kevin Powers's event for The Yellow Birds on this Friday, Sptember 14, 7 pm. He will be joining Gary Shellman, author of Speedster Vs. Spies, for a joint event.
Shellman has written a novel based on some of his exploits in the Cold War, and Powers has written what some are calling the definitive novel of the war in Iraq. For example...
From the Daily Beast, Doug Stanton raves "The Yellow Birds is the novel of the Iraq War that we have been waiting for."
John Burnside calls The Yellow Birds "essential reading" in the Guardian. And who couldn't love this quote from Burnside, comparing Powers's novel to Melville?:
"In the creation of his three principals, moreover, Powers has given us a highly sensitive and perceptive portrayal of men at war: the mysterious, vulnerable Murph and the brutal but enormously damaged Sterling are wonderfully delineated, and it is no accident that the central character's surname makes us think of Melville's Bartleby, another man numbed to the point where, in the end, all he can do is refuse to perform the few simple acts that would preserve him."
Every serious war novel has two serious conflicts embedded in it. One involves combat, of course. The other involves words. Civilians are practically trained not to ask veterans "What was it like there?" because the answer is impossible to articulate. That impossibility complicates every story about war: How to explain the inexplicable? Kevin Powers' stark debut novel about the Iraq war, "The Yellow Birds," is informed and energized by this tension. It thrives on a narrator who's grimly aware that "what is said is never quite what was thought, and what is heard is never quite what was said."
Friday, November 14, 7 pm, reading with Gary Shellman, A former deputy director of the Institute of World Affairs at UWM, Gary Shellman served as an intelligence analyst with the ASA in Frankfurt, 1957-58
Not a bad match for the last minute, right? More to come.
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