What is Sera Reading? Anatomy of a Soldier

Seraphim with Tenbury Library’s copy of The Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker

A blinder of a book. I had heard that the book was challenging to some and upsetting to others. So, I approached the reading with my mind open, hesitantly expecting I would not understand. Parker’s writing in this book is phenomenal and nothing is wasted, description or information.

The story is told by the items that surround and orbit the Soldier. As the narrative is told at first this gives a sense of the less human, non-sentimental mind but soon you are enveloped by the British captain’s lost of his leg to an IED, then the other to an infection, and the slow, mind hazy recovery. The first three chapters, for example, are narrated by a tourniquet, a bag of fertiliser, and a boot.

The narrative is jumpy. From the chaos of an [Afghan?] firefight to a Sainsbury’s car park and back again. Yet doesn’t feel all that puzzling thanks to the prose being economical but evocative and at times wincingly graphic. I was soon able to navigate through the ruptured timeline. An amazing debut novel not surprisingly from a former UK soldier. I was astounded at how much I learnt and understood from this book despite having zero military knowledge or much interest in war novels. deeply moving and real. I defiantly recommend this to your bucket list.

Published by BlueFalcon1983

YA Writer and illustrator

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