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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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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 |
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 |
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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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