Anatomy Of A Soldier by Parker, HarryAnatomy Of A Soldier by Parker, Harry

Anatomy Of A Soldier

byParker, Harry

Paperback | February 21, 2017

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Winner of the Waverton Good Read Award 2017
Shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2017
Shortlisted for the Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award 2017

Imagine if your whole life changed in the blink of an eye . . .

Captain Tom Barnes is leading British troops into a war zone when he is gravely injured by an exploding IED. This devastating moment and the transformative months that follow are narrated here by forty-five objects, telling one unforgettable story.

Harry Parker grew up in Wiltshire. He joined the British Army when he was 23 and served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is now a writer and artist and lives in London.
Title:Anatomy Of A SoldierFormat:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 7.8 × 5 × 0.79 inPublished:February 21, 2017Publisher:Faber & Faber AgencyLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0571325831

ISBN - 13:9780571325832

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Read from the Book

1My serial number is 6545-01-522. I was unpacked from a plastic case, pulled open, checked and reassembled. A black marker wrote BA5799 O POS on me and I was placed in the left thigh pocket of BA5799’s combat trousers. I stayed there; the pocket was rarely unfastened.I spent eight weeks, two days and four hours in the pocket. I wasn’t needed yet. I slid against BA5799’s thigh, back and forth, back and forth, mostly slowly but sometimes quickly, bouncing around. And there was noise: bangs and cracks, high-pitched whines, shouts of excitement and anger.One day I was submerged in stagnant water for an hour.I went in vehicles, tracked and wheeled, winged and rotored. I was soaked in soapy water then hung out to dry on a clothesline and did nothing for a day.At 0618 on 15 August, when I was sliding alongside BA5799’s thigh, I was lifted into the sky and turned over. And suddenly I was in the light. There was dust and confusion and shouting. I was on the ground beside him. He was face down; he was incomplete. I was beside him as rocks and mud fell around us.I was in the dust as a dark red liquid zigzagged towards me over the cracked mud. I was there when no one came and he was alone and couldn’t move. I was still there as fear and pathetic hopelessness gripped BA5799, as he was turned over and two fingers reached into his mouth, as his chest was pumped up and down and they forced air into his lungs.I was picked up by a slippery hand, fumbled back to the ground, then picked up again. I was pulled open by panicked fingers and covered in the thick liquid. I was placed on BA5799. I was turned. I tightened. I closed around his leg until his pulse pushed up against me. And he grimaced and whimpered through gritted teeth. I was wound tighter, gripping his thigh; stopping him bleed out into the dust.I clung to him while he was lifted onto a stretcher and he bit deeply into the arm of a man who carried him, when he no longer made any noise. I clung to him as we boarded the helicopter. I was wound again then, and gripped him harder.I clung to him as we flew low across the fields and glinting irrigation ditches and the wind rushed around the helicopter, when he pleaded with God to save him and metal pads were placed on his chest and his body jolted. And I clung to him when the machine read no output, when there was no pulse against me.I was there when they ran across to the helicopter and took us into the cool of the hospital.I was there when the doctors looked worried. I clung to him when he came back, when he had output and his faltering heart pulsed again. I was still there when they hung the bag of blood above BA5799 and they cut the remains of his leg away.And then I was unwound and loosened and I was no longer there; BA5799 no longer needed me.My serial number is 6545-01-522. I was at the bottom of a surgical bin and then I was burnt.

Editorial Reviews

“This is one of the most intimate and detailed accounts of a wounded soldier’s recovery ever committed to paper. . . . Behind this absorbing novel lies the indomitable spirit of Harry Parker. He has fought his way back from the darkest boundary of life to become a husband, father and, as this book shows, a writer of gifts and promise.” —Michael Moritz, The Wall Street Journal“Harry Parker's novel is a stunning concept, with stunning execution.” —Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness“A gripping wartime story boldly and creatively told . . . Parker is invested in expressing the particulars of war with surprising intimacy, and the unique structure with multiple viewpoints ultimately reveals harsh truths about the countless cogs in the machine of war . . . Parker’s unflinching tone lends the novel its lasting power.” —Publishers Weekly “This debut novel chronicles a soldier’s maiming and recovery with an inventiveness that in no way mitigates war’s searing heartbreak—or the spirit’s indomitability . . . Parker’s storytelling device of using objects as his narrators intensifies the reader's focus on the human emotions . . . You couldn't call this novel an antiwar tract . . . But you could certainly label it a pro-understanding work of art—and those may be more in need right now than ever before.” —Kirkus Reviews“An arresting and unconventional first novel . . . Anatomy of a Soldier is disorienting but deeply compelling.” —Booklist (starred) “A great novel: a defining work about a place beyond survival, where the terribly damaged succeed not just in living and adapting, but in bringing illumination back from the abyss. It will be read with wonder, with respect and with gratitude.” —Anthony Loyd, The New Statesman“Raw, uncompromising and courageous, this is a brilliant and unforgettable book.” —Deirdre O’Brien, Sunday Mirror “Parker manages to create great moments of suspense and pathos, thanks largely to the innovative structure he employs . . .Following the well-worn advice given to first-time novelists, Parker has written about what he knows. It just happens that he’s done it unusually well.” —Carl Wilkinson, Financial Times  “[Parker’s] prose, economical but evocative and at times wincingly graphic, confidently shepherds you through the ruptured timeline . . . morally and emotionally complex.” —Chris Power, The Guardian “A mighty achievement . . . stark and superb.” —Esquire [UK]“An arresting and unconventional first novel . . . Anatomy of a Soldier is disorienting but deeply compelling.” —Thomas Gaughan, Booklist (starred)  “We’ve become desensitized to war stories, but Harry Parker—not simply through the originality of his approach but also through skillful storytelling, intimate observation, and an endless ability to surprise and move the reader—cuts past our callouses and delivers a bold new narrative of war and its aftermath.” —Phil Klay“It is a novel of concentrated ferocity and chilling accomplishments, tense and unflinching but alive to every nuance of feeling.” —Hilary Mantel“A new take on the war novel. . . both disorienting and captivating. . . nuanced and wonderfully complex.” —The Guardian (U.K.)“A riveting, evocative, brutally realistic read. Anatomy of a Soldier is a novel, but one clearly based on the author’s searing experiences in combat and during recovery. It provides a vivid description of life as a soldier in Afghanistan and of life after being seriously wounded. What Harry Parker has written will enthrall, enlighten, and stay with readers.” —General (Ret) David Petraeus, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, 2010-2011“A tour de force. In this brilliant and beguiling novel Harry Parker sees the hidden forces that act on the bodies and souls of combatants and non-combatants. These pages are dangerous but they contain compassion and sorrow too. There is wonder here at what men have done to themselves. It feels like war through the looking glass but it is utterly real.” —Nadeem Aslam “This is a brilliant book, direct from the battle zone, where all the paraphernalia of slaughter is deployed to tell its particular and savage story.” —Edna O’Brien