Harry Parker: ‘I wanted to be seen as someone who could write, not a legless bloke who wrote a book’ Ex-soldier Harry Parker, who lost his legs in Afghanistan, has written a war novel with a difference “It’s quite a weird book, isn’t it?” suggests Harry Parker in his publisher’s office on a grey Tuesday morning. “Weird” may be overstating things, but Anatomy of a Soldier feels like a new take on the war novel. Following characters from both sides of an unnamed conflict, it’s told from the point of view of various inanimate objects (a bike, dog tags, a bag of fertiliser). The effect is both disorienting and captivating. Parker’s novel is grounded in grim personal reality. After serving in Iraq, a tour of Afghanistan came shuddering to a halt when the 32-year-old was wounded in the field, losing both legs. “I stepped on a bomb,” he says simply. It’s a fate that Tom Barnes, the central character, meets too, and his journey from troop leader to amputee is the emotional heart of the novel. In a startling chapter written from the perspective of a bed, Tom returns to his family home after undergoing rehab in hospital. As he… Read full this story
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