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Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker

Anatomy of a Soldier

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Shortlisted for The Authors' Club Best First Novel Award 2017.

One of our Books of the Year 2016.

A stunning concept where 41 inanimate objects relate the story of a soldier, Captain Tom Barnes. From training, through Afghanistan and a land mine that leaves him an amputee to his rehabilitation, mending and eventual accepting of prosthetic limbs. Powerful, heartbreaking, hypnotic and very unusual, we see the soldier’s life and that of a couple of local lads, one whose father helps the ‘infidels’ and one an insurgent. All three fates are tragically linked. The objects the author chooses to speak to us are interestingly chosen. We have the obvious such as odd bits of kit and surgical equipment but also get the mundane such as Tom’s mother’s red handbag, the razor he uses to tidy himself up with for his grandparents visit, a photo, a letter, money used by the military as compensation, the carpet the local family sit on and, I’ve said 34 others. It is highly intriguing and surprisingly tender. ~ Sarah Broadhurst

If you like Harry Parker you might also like to read books by Kevin Powers, Brian Turner and Tim O'Brien.


Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker

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.


'A brilliant book, direct from the battle zone.' Edna O'Brien

'Compassionate and compelling ...The language has a clarity about it that elevates it to the beautiful.' Kate Hamer

'A tour de force ...It feels like war through the looking glass but it is utterly real.' Nadeem Aslam

About the Author

Harry Parker

Harry Parker grew up in Wiltshire. He was educated at Falmouth College of Art and University College London. He joined the British Army when he was 23 and served in Iraq in 2007 and Afghanistan in 2009 as a Captain. He is now a writer and artist and lives in London.

Author photo credit Gemma Day

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Book Info

Publication date

29th December 2016


Harry Parker

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Faber & Faber


320 pages


Literary Fiction
All Shortlists and Winners
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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