Pink Mist by Owen Sheers published by Faber.
Pink Mist follows three friends from Bristol, who join the army and have just returned from Afghanistan. The three men all cope – or don’t – in different ways, and it’s poignant to read how Sheers researched through interviews with soldiers and their families before writing. Pink Mist was commissioned as a verse drama by BBC Bristol, but works on the page (although there are bits I can’t resist reading aloud):
Just this high ringing.
Like something left on too long.
That was all I could hear.
I remember the sky too.
But that was all.
I’m partly reading it to marvel at it, but I’m also working on my own verse-drama (on a completely different subject) so it’s fascinating to see how another writer has managed the form so well. It’s a masterclass at conjuring different rhythms, sensibilities, experiences and voices – not to mention mental states – using our only material: words.