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Skeletons at the Feast | [Chris Bohjalian]

Skeletons at the Feast

In January 1945, in the waning months of World War II, a small group of people begin the longest journey of their lives: an attempt to cross the remnants of the Third Reich, from Warsaw to the Rhine if necessary, to reach the British and American lines.
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Publisher's Summary

In January 1945, in the waning months of World War II, a small group of people begin the longest journey of their lives: an attempt to cross the remnants of the Third Reich, from Warsaw to the Rhine if necessary, to reach the British and American lines.

Among the group is 18-year-old Anna Emmerich, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats. There is her lover, Callum Finella, a 20-year-old Scottish prisoner of war who was brought from the stalag to her family's farm as forced labor. And there is a 26-year-old Wehrmacht corporal, who the pair know as Manfred - who is, in reality, Uri Singer, a Jew from Germany who managed to escape a train bound for Auschwitz.

As they work their way west, they encounter a countryside ravaged by war. Their flight will test both Anna's and Callum's love, as well as their friendship with Manfred - assuming any of them even survive.

Perhaps not since The English Patient has a novel so deftly captured both the power and poignancy of romance and the terror and tragedy of war. Skillfully portraying the flesh and blood of history, Chris Bohjalian has crafted a rich tapestry that puts a face on one of the 20th century's greatest tragedies - while creating, perhaps, a masterpiece that will haunt listeners for generations.

©2008 Chris Bohjalian; (P)2008 Random House, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Careful research and an unflinching eye...Bohjalian's well-chosen descriptions capture the anguish of a tragic era and the dehumanizing desolation wrought by war." (Publisher's Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (53 )
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4.4 (26 )
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  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-27-13
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 10-27-13 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    409
    ratings
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    161
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    "A View of WWII from a Different Perspective"

    The first 15 minutes were a tough sell, but then, I became totally engaged by this story.

    It is one in which the perspectives of Nazism and the war are told from the perception of German citizens who were both fighting the war and fleeing from it. The story told of Germans who supported the Reich, who questioned the Reich and who fought against the Reich.

    It is told from the perspective of a prisoner of war from Scotland, an escaped Jew who survived by adopting the identity of fallen German and Russian soldiers, and from a Jewish woman held in the German work camps.

    I found it required careful listening as the author changed voices with little notice and little or no segues.That is not to fault the book, it is just the author's MO.

    This is a good story; an abundance of violence and death; a bit of romance; and in the end, a realistic story about the true nature of war -- any war.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 10-20-13
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 10-20-13 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    362
    ratings
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    289
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    "A Wonderful Story"

    I haven’t read a novel set in Europe during WW2 that addresses the events of The Holocaust that wasn’t engrossing, gripping, or poignant….How can you not be moved by these stories?

    I am not giving this book the full attention it deserves, but that’s my fault – not because the story is not riveting; I just let myself get distracted by other things and therefore lost some threads. Still, when I was paying attention – I was absorbed!

    I put this novel right up there with all the others in the same genre; a wonderful story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise Valencia, CA, USA 12-24-08
    Denise Valencia, CA, USA 12-24-08 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my favorite"

    I really like Chris Bohjalian's novels, as I have read several. But I just wasn't moved by this novel. It took a long time for me to get into this story. By the time I finally got a little interested, 3/4 of the book past by. Maybe it's just me, but I just wasn't into it.

    2 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alan North Vancouver, BC, Canada 12-05-13
    Alan North Vancouver, BC, Canada 12-05-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    "Disappointed."

    Violence porn.
    Revenge porn.
    Sexual porn --at least unnecessarily graphic.
    Too often the author uses awkward phrases. For example, what in the world is a "disarmingly evil glance"? In what way can an evil glance be disarming?
    This is a shocking, numbing, poorly written and unrealistic text. The author's use of shock value, especially the rampant and graphic depiction of violence against children deeply offends me. I'll be asking for my money back.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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