Skeletons at the Feast: A Novel
by Chris Bohjalian
Paperback- $10.17

A masterful love story set against a backdrop of epic history and unforgettable courage

In the waning months of World War II, a small group ...

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  "Skeletons at the Feast" by cmardin (see profile) 07/08/11

Varied experiences and backgrounds lead to unexpected friendships during war. There is much sadness and brutality but also acts of kindness, bravery and hope. I cared about the characters and found myself wondering how I would react in their situation.

  "Important book to read" by SandyTague (see profile) 07/11/11

Although this is a novel, much WW II history is contained in it. The story is intriguing. These events need to be written about and read by all.

  "Read this historical fiction" by ebach (see profile) 10/29/17

So far, I've read nine Chris Bohjalian novels (including his latest, THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT, coming in March 2018). Some have been historical fiction, some suspense/thrillers, all literary. I've been impressed by every one. For example, his 2008 SKELETONS AT THE FEAST. This book is another great one.

SKELETONS AT THE FEAST is historical fiction. It is not exactly based on the diary of Bohjalian's friend's grandmother, in particular, the part that describes her 1945 terrifying journey, beginning where she lived in East Prussia, westward to escape the Soviet army. As Bohjalian said, this novel had its origins in this diary.

Near the end of World War II, 18-year-old Ann, her mother, her little brother, and the Scottish POW who has been working on their farm in East Prussia begin such a journey. Along their way to what is now West Germany (to, they hope, the American and British lines), a German soldier joins their group, or so they are led to believe. This newcomer is actually a Jewish man wearing a German uniform.

At the same time, another story is also going on, that of a group of Jewish women under the control of sadistic guards in a concentration camp. Eventually they, too, travel west by foot.

Although each of these two groups lives under terrible conditions, with their lives constantly at risk, it is the description of the Jewish women that is difficult to read.

But do yourself a favor and read this historical fiction that you may not have known about. Bohjalian's novels don't disappoint.

  "Brilliantly crafted story of the journeys taken during the final collapse of the 3rd Reich" by zodejodie4 (see profile) 04/10/20

Bohjalian's deft prose immerses you in the journey of a family of Prussian aristocrats fleeing the advance of the Russian Army in the final months of World War II during the collapse of the Third Reich. He brings us into the lives of several richly drawn characters in addition to the central family, including the Scottish prisoner of war who had been working with the family, the Jewish man who leapt from a train bound for Auschwitz, & a group of women being marched away from a concentration camp. Deeply evocative & immensely moving, Bohjalian has crafted a story from a unique perspective examining the importance of hope, & encouraging reflection on the legacy we leave behind.

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