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When violence echoes down the ages

An ex-US soldier's novel about the US Civil War and its aftermath is an ambitious exercise in Southern Gothic

By Jane Shilling   June 2018
Battle of Franklin, by Kurz and Allison (restored by Adam Cuerden) Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Battle of Franklin, by Kurz and Allison (restored by Adam Cuerden) Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Kevin Powers’s first novel, The Yellow Birds, drew on his experience of serving as a US army machine-gunner in Iraq from 2004-5. It attracted critical acclaim, praise from fellow writers Tom Wolfe, Colm Tóibín and Ann Patchett, and prizes including the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel also focuses on the aftermath of conflict, recording the shock waves of the American…

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