Excerpt from Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Skeletons at the Feast

by Chris Bohjalian

Skeletons at the Feast
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    May 2008, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2009, 384 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


And then there were the stories of what her own people had done. BBC propaganda, maybe. But probably not. She knew people who knew people. Her older brother, whom she hadn’t seen now since October, told her of an SS officer he had met who—supposedly—had served inside Treblinka in 1943. When her twin, Helmut, was on a hike with his Jungvolk friends last summer, the last they would take before the drills grew serious, he told her there were rumors (implausible and offensive, in his opinion) that some of the less committed boys would share when they thought no one was listening. Rumors of what really went on in some of the camps. And, of course, there was what their English POWs had claimed was occurring, stories that Helmut would dispute as half-truths and cant spread by the Allies to further demonize the Germans. It got to the point where he threatened to tell his father on them if they uttered so much as one more syllable.

She tensed when she heard the high-pitched whistle of another shell, and saw her mother once again pull little Theo, the youngest of her children, against her. Then there was the blast. Ahead of her there was shouting, screaming. She couldn’t tell whether the explosive had landed on the road or the river, whether people were wounded or merely panicked. More panicked, actually. Because certainly numbness had not completely subsumed the animal panic that coursed just below the skin and behind the bloodshot eyes of this long and plodding throng of parents and children and very old people. Only as Anna watched the nearest soldiers and Volkssturm recruits trying to prevent the line from spreading north and south into the woods—here is that panic, she thought, we are like desperate beetles scurrying from a giant’s boots—did she understand. The bomb had created a great spider’s web of cracks in the ice.

For a moment her father and Helmut conferred, the two of them murmuring softly into each other’s ears. Their army uniforms were still crisp. Then each of them walked to the front of a wagon—they were traveling with two—and her brother ordered her to come help him with the horses. After all, he muttered, they were more her horses than his. She thought he was being needlessly bossy, but she also knew that she didn’t dare question him now. It seemed that their family, too, was going to leave the caravan and trek into the woods, and he was going to run ahead and find a spot along the river that looked suitable for a crossing. Beside her, beneath the blanket in the wagon filled with oats, their sole remaining POW cleared his throat.

  • 1
  • 2

Excerpted from Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian. Copyright © 2008 by Chris Bohjalian. Excerpted by permission of Shaye Areheart Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Secret Language of Stones
    by M. J. Rose

    "A fantastic historical tale of war, love, loss and intrigue."
    – Melanie Benjamin

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Girl Waits with Gun
by Amy Stewart

An enthralling novel based on the forgotten true adventures of one of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!