Patrick Hennessey

Right of the Bang

Anatomy of a Soldier

By Harry Parker

Faber & Faber 314pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Harry Parker was a Rifleman and his extraordinary debut novel, Anatomy of a Soldier, lives up to the finest traditions of his regiment. Innovative, intelligent and powerfully effective, the Rifles have always been a proud breed apart from the rest of the British Army, noted for their conscious rejection of stylised, antiquarian tradition and their overbearing discipline in pursuit of excellence; they are famed as ‘thinking’ soldiers, trained to do everything that is necessary and nothing that is not.

Perhaps only a Rifleman could have written such an impressive, starkly different take on conflict. Certain elements are familiar: the dusty Afghan patrol bases; the visceral excitement of the firefight followed by the hollowing comedown; the loneliness of command and the curious, fierce love of fighting men for each other. But Parker’s decision to tell the story from the multiple perspectives of forty-five inanimate objects is as innovative as the first green jackets must have seemed on the battlefield. It makes for a rightly unsettling read.

Donmar Warehouse


Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • In all seriousness: good for them. Our bulbous award gets a bad rap every year; delighted for ER to give something else a go.,
    • Don't me ,
    • RT : Never got round to posting this - my piece on biog/memoir of wonderful in latest issue of ,
    • To celebrate Paul Beatty winning the Booker, here's our review of The Sellout, to read for free: ,
    • Thomas Hardy's phrenologist tells him he will 'lead to no good' in a new book about his life in London ,
    • John Knox said that crowning a woman was akin to putting ‘a saddle upon the back of an unruly cow’. Tell that to Catherine de'Medici...,
    • RT : I 💕💕 the Pulpit article in September's about rereading books at different times of life.,