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Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
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Skeletons at the Feast (2008)

by Chris Bohjalian

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1,113567,358 (3.97)83
2008 (10) 2009 (10) adult (6) audio (6) ebook (7) family (8) fiction (122) Germany (62) historical (8) historical fiction (76) Holocaust (60) Jews (28) literary fiction (6) love story (9) novel (8) own (7) Poland (19) POW (8) Prussia (13) read (12) read in 2008 (11) read in 2009 (7) refugees (27) romance (7) survival (8) to-read (41) unread (7) war (12) wishlist (8) WWII (136)
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Bohjalian takes a different perspective on WWII and the horrors that involved all lives in it's path. A great story told by a great storyteller. ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
Bohjalian takes a different perspective on WWII and the horrors that involved all lives in it's path. A great story told by a great storyteller. ( )
  FAR2MANYBOOKS | Apr 5, 2014 |
audio MT library to go
  susanmhills | Mar 25, 2014 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Dec 22, 2013 |
This is the story of a German aristocratic family living in Poland, a Scottish POW, an escaped Jewish man, and two young Jewish girls living the horrors inflicted by the Nazi. This is the story of how families are ripped apart by war and how war can cause strangers to become family.

Although I’ve read a number of Holocaust stories, I’ve never read one coming from this angle. The Emmerich family had a successful farm once under the Polish government, but Germany under Hitler reclaimed that land and once again, to their relief, they are German citizens. Although they sometimes hear hard-to-believe rumors, all appears to be well from the viewpoint of a rural family living far from the center of German control. It isn’t until a young POW from Scotland is sent to help on the farm that they begin to have questions as to what is really occurring in Germany.

It isn’t long before the war comes to this family and life takes them on a horrific journey of fleeing their land in advance of the Russian army. At the same time, a young Jewish man is able to escape the trains heading for the camps. Finding a German army uniform, he renames himself and manages to allude capture by posing as a German soldier. Soon the Emmerich family, the Scottish POW and the “soldier” find themselves on the same march westward all the while that two young Jewish girls are being marched eastward to work camps.

There are scenes in this story that are horrific. Sometimes I felt the author attempted to include every degraded act possible; however, I can only imagine when circumstances are so dire that almost anything is possible. At the same time, this is a love story. A love story between two unlikely lovers, a love story of sister to brother and mother to daughter and friend to friend, and a story of respect and brotherly love evolves between two very unlikely young men. This is well researched and well written. Not only did I appreciate the story line, but it gave me a better sense of how complicated the war’s effect on average citizens really was. ( )
  maryreinert | Sep 10, 2013 |
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Epigraph
The past is never dead. It's not even past. - William Faulkner
Dedication
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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:58 -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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