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Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

Skeletons at the Feast (2008)

by Chris Bohjalian

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1,198606,687 (3.98)86
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An exceptional Holocaust audiobook that kept me involved over the month that I listened to it - The narrator was excellent with accents and dialects and brought each character to life. There were moments that this book was almost too painful to listen to, but the storyline and the knowledge that WWII was coming to an end kept me going.

This is the story of an unlikely group of travelers - a mother, daughter and young son with family in the German army were escaping the Russian invasion - they traveled with a Scottish prisoner of war who they had taken in, and eventually met up with a Jewish man who had escaped from a cattle car on the way to a concentration camp, and wore the uniform o a Nazi officer who he had killed -

The story was engrossing, characters were realistic, and the writing was poetic at times - this was definitely my favorite of Chris Bohjalian's books. ( )
  njinthesun | Sep 25, 2015 |
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. This book takes place during World War II and tells the story of a German aristocrat family fleeing their home in the final days of the war. They are accompanied by a Scottish POW and a Jewish man masquerading as a German soldier. It gave an interesting perspective of a German family beginning to see through the propaganda of the Nazi regime and trying to come to terms with what their country has done during the war. The novel is set when the Russians are beginning to advance on Eastern Germany and commiting many atrocities against German civilians. There are a lot of fairly graphic scences of torture and brutality and much of the novel was really sad to read, but it really gave an interesting historical depiction of the war. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
I had to keep reading sentences over again because they were so freakin long! Because of that, I focused on his writing style and not the story. I'm sure it's a great story but I can't get past the run on sentences - too much work!!!
There was a passage I found very disturbing that stayed with me. I know there were many horrors of WW2, but it was a little too much for me. ( )
  jenngv | Jun 25, 2015 |
It is close to the end of World War II. 18-year old Anna and her family are German farmers. They have prisoners of war helping out at their farm, including a young Scottish soldier, Callum. Uri is Jewish and has escaped from a train moving Jews to a camp; he must spend the rest of the war hiding the best he can. Cecile and Jeanne are Jewish girls in a camp. All three storylines are happening simultaneously and all three eventually come together.

This was very good. Bohjalian is very good at realistic descriptions, yikes! I will admit that it took me a little bit to really get into this one, and with the three different storylines + me listening on audio, it was a bit confusing at first (which really is why it took a while for me to get into it). But once I started to know who was who and figure it all out, it was really very good. ( )
  LibraryCin | Aug 23, 2014 |
Chris Bohjalian has written another page turner!
The "good" German civilians who lived during WWII are seldom studied, and their hardships as Germany was retreating and the allied forces made their way to Berlin have not been acknowledged. Bohjalian examines one families retreat from the Russians, the brutality they encounter not only from the "enemy", but also from their own forces.
Another journey at the same time examines the evacuation of one of the work camps and the forced death march of the young Jewish women during the dead of winter. The emotions and involvement of a Scottish POW, and Manfred, a Jewish escapee disguised as a German soldier, who become part of this exodus, are all woven together as they work their way across the country fleeing the Russian "invasion".
This is a fantastic story of bravery, brutality, and an examination of survivial under extraordinary circumstances.
I could not put this book down. ( )
  bedoughty | Jul 8, 2014 |
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The past is never dead. It's not even past. - William Faulkner
For Stephen Kiernan, Adam Turteltaub, and Dana Yeaton
And for Victoria, who reads every word
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The girl - a young woman, really, eighteen, hair the color of corn silk - had been hearing the murmur of artillery fire for two days now.
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Book description
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 the Russian front to the Rhine if necessary, to reach the British and American lines.

Among the group is eighteen-year-old Anna Emmerich, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats. There is her lover, Callum Finella, a twenty-year-old Scottish prisoner of war who was brought from the stalag to her family's farm as forced labor. And there is a twenty-six-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 twentieth centrury's greatest tragedies-while creating, perhaps, a masterpiece that will haunt readers for generations.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307394964, Paperback)

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 of people begin the longest journey of their lives.

At the center is eighteen-year-old Anna, the daughter of Prussian aristocrats, and her first love, a twenty-year-old Scottish prisoner of war named Callum. With his boyish good looks and his dedication to her family, he has captured Anna’s heart. But he is the enemy, and their love must remain a closely guarded secret. Only Manfred, a twenty-six-year-old Wehrmacht corporal, knows the truth. And Manfred, who is not what he seems to be, is reluctantly taken with Anna, just as she finds herself drawn uncomfortably to him.

As these unlikely allies work their way west, their flight will test both Anna’s and Callum’s love, as well as their friendship with Manfred–and will forever bind the young trio together.

Includes special bonus material: Chris Bohjalian responds to questions from book groups and readers

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

As Hitler's Third Reich crumbles, an aristocratic Prussian woman and her child flee west away from the approaching Russian army. Eventually they form an unlikely alliance with a Jewish man escaping from the concentration camps.

» see all 5 descriptions

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Chris Bohjalian is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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