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Skeletons at the Feast

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  22,320 ratings  ·  2,327 reviews
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 Warsaw 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 Finel
Hardcover, 372 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Crown (first published 2008)
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Bobbe "These days, you and I---our families, our world---are nothing more than skeletons at the feast anyway." Uncle Karl is refusing to leave his home,…more"These days, you and I---our families, our world---are nothing more than skeletons at the feast anyway." Uncle Karl is refusing to leave his home, even though the Russians are not far away. I wonder if this just means they are lifeless, somewhat invisible, worthless.....He sees no reason to try to escape. (less)
Dianne Kaucharik Uri's sister. Throughout the story, he worried about her fate.

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May 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every sentence is worth listening to. Every word.

Why read another book about the horror of World War II? Because it teaches us why life is worth living.

I would change nothing about this book. Nothing!

I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Mark Bramhall. The narration is slow, but it should be slow so you can think about every word, and ponder what those words mean, consider what we think ourselves. Would this happen, this way? Would I react similarly? Could he behave any differently?

You ca
Richard Derus
Dec 19, 2011 rated it did not like it
Rating: 0.125* of five

GHASTLY. Made me so angry that I got out of my warm bed, got dressed, and drove to the next town to heave this drivel-fest into the local cathedral's charity bin, thus ensuring that only some Catholic would be subjected to it. Their happiness I don't care about protecting.

The finger-in-the-chest, accusatory "You ride your horse over the Jew" (paraphrase, not a quote) section made me so furiously angry that I scared the dog yelling at the book.

If you're a little slow on the
Jan 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: war, ww2
There have been many books focusing on the Holocaust and World War Two, and Chris Bohjalian sets himself quite a task when he set out to write the story (based in part by a personal diary ) set in the waning months of World War two.

But this story is told in a different manner to many of the fictionalised books out there as the author takes on the difficult task of telling this story from many points of view.

A Prussian family, a Scottish POW assigned to work on their farm, and a Jew disguised a
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

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This book has left me kind of speechless. I’ve been sitting here trying to figure out how to review it. It is a book I will never forget. It will be right up there with my favorite books EVER. It is very sad. It is horrifying at times. But in the end, it left me with a feeling of awe for the human soul and what is can endure in the face of unspeakable suffering.

The plot summary below was taken from Wiki… but put it all together better than I could.

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Davney Stahley
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the few WWII books I've read that is told from the German viewpoint. The brutality is frightening even after all these years. I remember my German Oma had nothing but bad to say about Adolph Hitler. She still had family in Germany in the 50s and they didn't have anything good to say about him. I also had a friend in WI who was in her 70s and had been a Hitler youth. It was interesting to talk with her about how they never questioned and how the whole "Jewish situation" was not believed by ...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
I can handle reading a lot of fantasy violence and torture, because, no matter how connected to the characters I am-I know on some level as I’m reading that it did NOT happen. So, when I picked up Skeletons I knew that would be different, and I was right. Even the smallest acts of cruelty in this book twisted my guts because I know that what the Jews went through during the Holocaust is absolute reality. Just thinking about it makes me feel sick. So, in a way, this book was the opposite of fanta ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
5 ☆ A bittersweet story not just about love, this story is so MUCH more than that..

“I thought we were all going to die”
You and all the other prisoners?
“No. The Jews. All of us. I tried to keep my hopes up but these last weeks.. it was gone all gone. I thought they were going to exterminate us all.”

The characters felt as real as if I were right there experiencing their pain with them. Each one of their stories touched on all of my senses. I felt so much compassion for the characters that it liter
Dec 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Skeletons at the Feast took me to a dark place - the Holocaust. If there weren't so many great books written about this black mark of the world's history, I would ban myself from reading any books on this topic in the future. I hate that such a horrific occurrence is repeatedly used as bait for novelists.

Bohjalian is a good author, though, and does a good job developing his characters, giving them interesting conflict, all the while threading bits of real history into his story that he obtained
Rebecca McNutt
Nov 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, fiction, ww2, war, nazi
Skeletons at the Feast is a powerful story, original and beautiful yet deeply poignant all at once, as it's set smack-dab in the beginning of WWII.
Crystal Craig
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Skeletons at the Feast was my second Chris Bohjalian novel. I enjoyed it far more than I did The Night Strangers, which was the first book I read written by him. The novel was one of the four group reads voted in for the month of April in my book club, Sweeter Reads. Yes, I know, I'm a little ahead of the game, but I'm going to be away the latter part of March; I'll be at the farm while our animals give birth. It's a very busy time, and I may not be able to get much reading done.

The main thing
Branwen Sedai *of the White Ajah*
"You forget pain. We all do. We tell ourselves that we remember the specifics, but its all just a lot of pictures and words in our heads. No sensations. I think we actually remember life's humiliations better. The degradations. The cruelties. But the pain? We seem to forget what pain actually feels like. It's like a cloud after the sky has cleared."

In 1945, as World War II is in its dying throes, a group of people cross Germany fleeing the incoming Russians in an attempt to reach safety in the B
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was ok
Based on real diaries, this is a fascinating subject, but mishandled. Bohjalian seemed to be trying to hit readers over the head with the horrors of WWII.
Jun 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
Blech. I have heard such good things about Chris Bohjalian, but I must say I was deeply disappointed. This book was based loosely on an actual journal kept by a German woman who fled the Russians as they swept into Germany at the end of World War II. The plot had such great potential! So many issues though.
1. The character development was stale. The characters didn't change over the course of the novel, even in the face of life-changing circumstances (loss of loved ones; leaving one's home behin
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
A Jew, a Scot and a German girl walk into the east part of Germany during the last weeks of WW2. …… No this is not the beginning of a joke, this is the plot of the book.

The three main characters of the book, a German Jew pretending to be Aryan, a German teenager running from the advancing Russian army and her Scottish POW lover find themselves all advancing west through the crumbling third Reich in an effort to reach the area that will be occupied by the western armies (and not the Russians).

Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Virginia by: Jennifer Entwistle
Bohjalian got me with this one, as he has in the two other books of his I've read. It took me about 1/4 of the way into it to get hooked, but I stayed up until 1 am last night reading it. His writing is really quite nice, possibly underrated. His storytelling is incredibly compelling.

There are several stories woven together in this book, the main being the plight of an aristocratic Prussian family forced to march west in the waning months of WWII. The horrors and atrocities of the war are on ful
this audio book has me running back to the car to take a drive... anywhere, anytime, just any opportunity to listen to more. It is a saga about a handful of people trying to get west from the ever encroaching Russians on the Eastern Front in Poland/Prussia at the end of WWII. You have the aristocratic Prussian family, sans menfolk, the Scottish POW who has worked for them as slave labor, the jew disguised as a German Officer in order to escape arrest and inevitable death, and you have the women ...more
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, wwii
This was hard to put down even during the very graphic scenes of death and violence. I fell in love with all the characters and how they dealt with their predicaments. There was an interesting perspective given on the whys and wherefores of the Russian army's treatment of the Germans--that the Germans simply had asked for it. Not to over-simplify things, but, yes, the Russians were barbarians, but so were the Germans. Then the English were accused of the same when they bombed the crap out of Dre ...more
Nov 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the fourth book by Chris Bohjalian that I have read and it is my favorite. It's WWII in Germany and The story follows a German family, a Jewish woman going from work camp to work camp, a Jewish man who jumps off a train and hides out as a German soldier, and a POW from Scotland living with the German family. It's nearing the end of the war and the Russians are advancing from the east and the British and Americans are advancing from the west and thousands of refugees are on the move. Chri ...more
Sep 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A heartbreaking story of the holocaust told from the perspective of a kind German family fleeing the Russians with their Scottish POW Callum whom their daughter Anna loves. I soon found myself adoring young Theo and the strength of his mother "Mutti" as well as the disguised Jewish man Uri who helps them in their struggle to survive.

As in other books of the holocaust that I have read, the plight of the Jewish people is horrific and often graphic in Bohjalian's novel, but I enjoyed the book espec

Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Skeletons at the Feast - Nevisande : Chris Bohjalian - ISBN : 307394956 - ISBN13 : 9780307394958 - Dar 372 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2008
Sep 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
It never ceases to amaze me that every time I read a book about the Nazi atrocities, I come away thinking how could they? It boggles one's mind to think about the cruelties, the inhumanity, and the vicious hatred extended to the Jews and other cultures by the Nazis.

In this historical fiction novel we meet a number of characters who embody courage and the will to live and move forward in a world of insanity and overall sadness. Beginning a journey, a small group of people rush away from the oncom
Aug 01, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book is very average.

I was annoyed with his writting style of frequently interrupting sentences with dashes/breaks, adding in an afterthought or additional information. The interruptions sometimes were so long I had to re-read the sentence to remember the original thought. I felt like it was very choppy, with the "---" (dashes/breaks) being overused. I also needed to re-read sections because it was not entirely clear which character's thoughts I was reading.

As far as the story's violence
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Chris Bohjalian is a master of getting inside the heads of his characters. This WWII novel feels very much like fist-person accounts of the final year of the war in Prussia/Germany. We get the picture from the perspectives of German refugees fleeing the Russians, a Scottish POW traveling with them, a Jewish man masquerading as a soldier and a Jewish woman in a work/death camp. Much of the story is gruesome and all of it is tragic, but there's enough heart and humanity to keep readers engaged. Bo ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sweeter-reads
Amazing story!!! Excellent writing!!! I loved every moment of this book. Chris Bohjalian brought to life, in vivid reality, this horrific period of history that is still so unimaginable; it's still so unbelievable that these atrocities actually happened. Through the various character's eyes the reader was able to experience the emotions during this time period. From death to life, despair to hope, grief to love, hatred to kindness. My favorite book this year... a must-read!
Aug 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ellen, readers of Holocaust literature
This was a fantastic book - another look at World War II and the Holocaust. This time frame is toward the end of the war, when it has become obvious that Germany will lose, and as the Soviet forces are moving westward.

There are basically three stories that come together. A family of well-to-do German farmers, the Emmerichs, living in what was then the western part of Poland, leaves their comfortable farm just ahead of the Soviet tanks and seeks refuge with the Allies. With them is a Scottish pri
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: world-war-2
Bohjalian ventures into the milieu of World War II Germany and tells the story of Anna Emmerich, a German girl living on the edge of Poland and her German family, who are Nazi party members. These are rural German's who are oblivious to the atrocities and turn a blind eye to the disappearances of people around them to relocation. It is the last days of the war, and the family is forced to flee before the oncoming Russian army. Accompanying them is a Scottish POW named Callum Finella who is given ...more
Oh where to start. This was a huge disappointment. 2 stars is only possible because the writing was alright. It is the "EVERYTHING ELSE" that was the problem. This would have landed square on top of my DNF pile with a resolute thud if I didn't need to read this and if I hadn't already vested an hour and half into it.

This book was one big tragedy parade. The first half was simply gruesome and appalling. It was like the author googled WWII horrors and squished every single one of them into the fir
Apr 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Chris Bohjalian and historical fiction books
The thing about history and the subsequent historical fiction reads, is the opportunity to view events from a different perspective. It can enhance and enlighten what you may already know. Chris Bohjalian’s Skeletons at the Feast provided a viewpoint that many may have not thought about. It made the book a very dramatic and powerful read.

After reading my first Bohjalian book, The Light in the Ruins, I was expecting Skeletons at the Feast to be another well-written book. I thought he manages to c
A disappointment despite the intriguing subject matter. I was excited to read about this period from a new perspective, but this didn't work for me.

The violence seemed overly gratuitous and graphic in parts (particularly in the first half). Of course, when I picked this up, I was expecting to read about the horrors of war, but I don't think the author handled the subject very well. I understand these atrocities really happened, but it seemed like Bohjalian felt he had cram in as many of them as
Jun 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Chris Bohjalian is becomming one of my new favorite authors. This book was outstanding.
Outlining the brutal landscape of Nazi Germany as German refugees struggle westward ahead of the advancing Russian army.the novel exhumes the ruin of spirit, flesh and faith that accompanied thousands of such desperate journeys. Prussian aristocrat Rolf Emmerich and his two elder sons are sent into battle, while his wife flees with their other children and a Scottish POW who has been working on their estate.
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Rebecca (spoiler alert) 4 79 Oct 01, 2014 12:09PM  
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Chris is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 20 books. Chris's work has been translated into over 30 languages and three times become movies ("Midwives," "Secrets of Eden," and "Past the Bleachers.")

"The Flight Attendant" paperback lands January 8, 2019, wherever books are sold. It debuted as a hardcover in March 2019 as a
“She didn't care so much whether the world would ever forgive her people; but she did hope that someday, somehow, she would be able to forgive herself.” 6 likes
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