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How not to tell a soldier’s story

A former British Army captain’s autobiographical novel uses inanimate objects to describe the horrors of war — but it’s not a successful, or even original, device

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

27 February 2016

9:00 AM

Anatomy of a Soldier Harry Parker

Faber, pp.313, £14.99, ISBN: 9780571325818

Attempts by soldiers themselves to describe to us our 21st-century wars have come, so far, in a few recognisable varieties: the movie-ready tactical accounts narrated by infallible tough guys, grading into versions of what one Iraq war veteran-writer, Roy Scranton, has termed the ‘myth of the trauma hero’: those dramas of personal suffering that ignore, or even presumptively redeem, a war’s wider consequences.

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