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A page turner
This novel is a narrative. A historically well researched tome. A bird's eye view of the last months of WW II as experienced by a German family. It makes one cry, laugh and be proud to be a member of the human race. A trek on foot, across snowy, frozen Germany in the last months of the war. With dangers lurking behind every tree and inside every barn. A tale of heartbreak, loss, love and resilience of the human spirit.
Skeletons at the Feast
I really enjoyed Skeletons at the Feast. I thought it was well written, and the characters compelling, although I would have liked to have one of them (Cecile) fleshed out a bit more.
The book provides an interesting look at World War II, from an angle not often seen. It seemed historically accurate, as far as I could tell.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story and a fairly quick, light read (despite the World War II background, I didn't feel it was a "weighty" book).
After I fairly quickly connected with the characters in this emotional and at times utterly heartbreaking book, I was hooked! I found myself both eager to keep reading, yet a few times, knowing what was likely ahead, too afraid to continue without at least a short break. Although fictional, I felt the well-defined characters undoubtedly epitomized the people who actually experienced the horrors of the Holocaust.
When the book was finished, I felt much more educated regarding some of the events of that harrowing time in history and I had a better sense of the geography of that region (although a map would've been helpful).
I know I won't forget this amazing book, and I highly recommend it!
I have enjoyed 2 previous novels of Chris Bohjalian. He is an accomplished author. Disappointing best describes his new novel. Although the historical details of wartime 1945 Germany are interesting, the action is awkward and slow in this novel. Characters are one-dimensional and fail to evoke interest or emotion.There are so many better pieces of fiction and non-fiction that cover this material,don't waste your time on this one.
SKeltons at the Feast
Skeletons at the Feast is well paced and lessons hard learned by war and tragedy are softened by the depth of the characters’ souls and personal stories. It is a book hard to put down. However, there are no jubilant victors in this novel of WWII, only survivors who become skeletons of humanity. The tragic story of war is retold by Bohjalian in this tale where the survivors are, more interestingly, scared by their own knowledge, guilt, and conscious, as well as fear and torment by oppressors and allies as they flee Poland during nightmarish last days of WWII.
Good story, adequate writing
It's always hard to say that a Holocaust-theme novel is "enjoyable." This one had a good story to tell, with interesting, well-developed characters. It became a page-turner, leaving the reader either relieved or devastated to learn the fate of each character. I just wish that the quality of the writing matched the story. Bohjalian uses too many parenthetical clauses. He loves the dash, sometimes using several in one paragraph. I found this annoying and it hindered the flow of the narrative. Still, this is a memorable novel that will probably be a hit with book clubs.
Skeleton at the Feast
As an avid reader of Holocaust themed literature this book was a departure for me. Its central characters are not the victims of the Nazis but victims who are Germans fleeing from the advancing Russian army. Having been in Nuremburg in 2006 I heard for the first time how terribly the German people suffered at the hands of the advancing Russian army. The author did a superb job of describing the disintegration of Germany and the horrors its inhabitants were subjected to through the last few months of the war. A map of Germany would have been useful for a better understanding of the area through which they traveled.
A Thought-Provoking Read
What an amazing book! I'll admit that I had a hard time getting into it, at first, as I found the beginning a little confusing. But once I gave it my full attention, I couldn't put it down. Skeletons at the Feast tells an incredibly poignant story of the last part of World War II from a perspective not usually described: that of a German family who don't really understand what is going on around them until they are confronted with the truth.
I cared about each of the characters in this book. Bohjalian doesn't sugarcoat anything but his imagery is not gratuitous.
This is sure to be another bestseller for Chris Bohjalian. Deservedly so.