Two of the nominated books for One Read 2013 look at the emotional impact of war from very different angles. “Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers is told from the point of view of a young soldier unmoored by his experiences in Iraq. Private John Bartle recounts in flashback his friendship with Murph, the younger soldier he promised to protect, and their attempts to cope with the horrors of the battlefield. Haunting and lyrical, this is an extremely intimate look at the consequences of war for those on the front lines. The reader suggesting this book said, “I think a community discussion of the Iraq War and effects on returning veterans is very important.”
Stephen Dau’s “Book of Jonas” follows the 15-year-old survivor of an attack on his Middle Eastern village after he is sent to America to live with a foster family. Jonas struggles to adapt and to suppress memories of his village’s destruction and the details of his own survival. He finally reveals the heroics of a missing soldier who saved his life, a story that reveals a shocking secret to the soldier’s grieving mother. Our nominator writes that this novel addresses “the timely topics of war, terrorists and immigrants. [The writing is] well-crafted, including an unusual structure.”
See other readers’ nominations for One Read 2013.