Anatomy of a Soldier

By: Harry Parker
Location: FIC PAR
Genre: War- real stuff

Anatomy of a Soldier is brilliantly written, it certainly shows rather than tells, and the horror and brutality is there in every detail. Yet it is also a story of hope and new beginnings, of tenacity, determination and stamina. The words are creative and artistic, yet genuine and so very very important.- Anne
Captain Tom Barnes is leading British troops in a war zone. Two boys are growing up there, sharing a prized bicycle and flying kites, before finding themselves separated once the soldiers appear in their countryside. On all sides of this conflict, people are about to be caught up in the violence, from the man who trains one boy to fight the infidel invaders to Barnes's family waiting for him to return home. We see them not as they see themselves, but as all the objects surrounding them do: shoes and boots, a helmet, a trove of dollars, a drone, that bike, weaponry, a bag of fertilizer, a medal, a beer glass, a snowflake, dog tags, an exploding IED and the medical implements that are subsequently employed. Anatomy of a Soldier is a moving, enlightening and fiercely dramatic novel about one man's journey of survival and the experiences of those around him. Forty-five objects, one unforgettable story.
What is new is about this  book is it is narrated through the objects – 45 in all – that surround Tom and some of the other characters, and many of which play an integral part in Tom’s survival and recovery. From a tourniquet to a helmet, a medal to an artificial leg, his mother’s handbag to a bike, all these anthropomorphised objects are given their own voice and the cumulative effect is to gradually build an authentic and convincing portrait of one soldier’s experience
This was more than a literary tale, it was: a collection of short stories, a tragedy, a romance, a personal growth story, a story of grief, brutal, tender, a British story, a Middle Eastern story, a story that made me smile, a tale that brought a tear to my eye. It's the story of a soldier, but it's so much more than that. It's a story that has me talking.- Renee


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