Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian

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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 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 century’s greatest tragedies–while creating, perhaps, a masterpiece that will haunt readers for generations.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Chris Bohjalian

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CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and twice became movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at or on Facebook.From the Hardcover edition.
Published May 6, 2008 by Broadway Books. 388 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Skeletons at the Feast

Kirkus Reviews

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In their death throes, the Nazis have erupted into spasmodic violence—“live babies held by their ankles and swung like scythes into stone walls while their mothers were forced to watch…” Turns out Manfred’s not an actual fascist but the underground alias of Uri Singer, a Jewish refugee masqueradi...

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Publishers Weekly

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Whether it is the troubled lovers whose relationship is put to the test given the disquiet and unrest that abounds throughout much of Europe, or the mysterious stranger who guides them through it all, Mark Bramhall has no trouble stepping into character and giving his listeners a blazing experience.

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Book Reporter

While the Soviet army may very well have been responsible for some war crimes of their own, the Emmerich family sees through the eyes of Callum and Uri that this was nothing in comparison to what their own army was responsible for.

Jan 23 2011 | Read Full Review of Skeletons at the Feast

Entertainment Weekly

In works like 1998's Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has shown a prodigious gift for exploring how people are transformed by a single horrific and random act.

May 02 2008 | Read Full Review of Skeletons at the Feast

USA Today

Reading Bohjalian's descriptions of terror and tragedy on the road has just as much impact as seeing newsreels from the end of World War II.The remaining family members fear the German soldiers almost as much as the Russians, because in one of their wagons they hide the Scottish POW Callum, who h...

May 15 2008 | Read Full Review of Skeletons at the Feast


While many of the other Germans talk about how horrible and violent the invading Russians are and how it shows how incredibly uncultured and barbaric they are, Anna’s mother starts to wonder about what they, the Germans, had done to deserve this, and states something along the lines of “we must h...

Nov 01 2009 | Read Full Review of Skeletons at the Feast

Bookmarks Magazine

Jennie Camp Today Show 4 of 5 Stars "A Top Ten Summer Read" St. Louis Post-Dispatch 3.5 of 5 Stars "Chris Bohjalian has created a microcosm of that devastating winter of 1945 and, in doing so, has typecast many of his characters: the good German and the sadistic one;

May 04 2008 | Read Full Review of Skeletons at the Feast

Curtis Brown

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