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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skeletons at the Feast

by Chris Bohjalian

I loved this book. It provided me with perspective. Previously when I thought of WWII, I thought of the horrible atrocities pronounced on the Jews by Hitler and the German people. I will always think of the wrongs done to the Jews, but my view has been expanded to include all people wronged by the evil actions of a relative few.

Skeletons at the Feast tells the story of a prosperous farming family who are forced to leave their home and make their way to the Allied lines to find safety from the invading Russian army at the end of the war. They have heard rumors of the ill treatment of the Jews by their beloved Fuhrer but find them hard to believe. They haven't witnessed the mass evacuations because of their removed location on the farm. My heart ached for their suffering. The mother especially revered Hitler and can't understand why the Russians were invading their country with such contempt and killing the Germans in such vile ways. She asked, "What have we done to make them hates us this much?" As the realization of the truth sinks in she is filled with shame.

The powerful stories of two other main characters are simultaneously told along with that of the Emmerich family. The first is Uri, a young Jewish man who escaped from a boxcar and has been posing as a German soldier for 3 years. The second is Cecile who is forced to march west with the rest of the women in her concentration camp as the Germans try to hide their atrocities from the eyes of the world. The woman are forced to work in a factory for awhile, but as the Russian forces draw closer they are marched further west.

17 comments:

Literary Feline said...

I recently brought home a copy of this one and look forward to reading it. I am drawn to books set during and around WWII. So many people were impacted by the war in ways that we often don't hear about. With this book, I'm sure it will help too that it is written by Chris Bohjalian. I love his writing style. Great review!

Lynne said...

Like LT, I too am drawn to books about WWII. I've never heard of this one, but being written by Bohjalian, it's bound to be good. Thanks for the review - I'll be on the lookout for this one.

Lezlie said...

I just read this a few weeks ago and loved it! It really did explore a different perspective of the war. It's easy to forget that there were a lot of regular people who really didn't know what was happening.

Lezlie

jenclair said...

I've just added this one to my list! Thanks for a great review of the war from a different perspective.

Kailana said...

I really should read another book by him. I think I have only read 'Midwives' and that was a while ago!

Dar said...

Great review. I keep meaning to pick this one up because it's been on my wishlist for a while now.

Lisa R.D. said...

I'm glad you reviewed this--I just finished The Book Thief which also gives a different perspective of the Holocaust. I really like Midwives and will add this to my "to read" list... it sounds really interesting.

bermudaonion said...

That sounds fabulous. I'm adding it to my wish list.

Joy said...

I thought this one was very good, too, Booklogged! It was a different perspective, indeed.

Staci said...

I checked this out a while back from the library but ran out of time so I never did get to it. I have enjoyed almost all of Bohjalian's book so I really liked the fact that you gave this a good review. I'm hoping to read it this summer!!

Zibilee said...

I have been wanting to read this book for awhile now, and heard lots of good things about it. Thanks for posting this!

Rebecca :) said...

I read Midwives this month and fell in love with Bohjalian's writing style and vivid creativity. I am adding Skeletons at the Feast to by TBR list!

Les said...

I think I put this on my TBR list after reading Joy's review. It sounds like something I'd really enjoy, so I better just buy a copy and put it on my nightstand! Lovely review.

Lotus Reads said...

This book is definitely going on my list booklogged! I love Bohjalian's writing and how fearlessly he tackles topics most of us would just tiptoe around. For me, his most memorable book is "Trans Sister Radio".

alisonwonderland said...

i have loved all of Bohjalian's books that i've read so far, but for some undefinable reason i've been hesitant to read this one. your positive review on top of others i've read is encouraging me to give it a try. thanks!

Sheila (bookjourney) said...

Out of the three you mentioned as favs - this would be the pick for me. This looks wonderful.

Anna said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this one, and I hope to read it at some point. I hope it's okay that I linked to your review on War Through the Generations.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric