Thursday, December 18, 2008


Author: Chris Bohjalian
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: 2008
Personal Rating: 4/5
Yearly Count: 161

Germany, during WWII, sets the stage for a German family fleeing from the Russians, a Jewish man who escapes from a train headed to Auschwitz, a Scottish POW and a couple hundred imprisoned Jewish woman in a concentration camp.

The several different points of view expressed in this novel were some voices I have not heard before. I have read, in varying degrees, the general concept of German families, and Jewish men and women during this timeframe, but none quite like this. Bohjalian was able to describe and, in turn, make me feel the weight of some extremely difficult decision many people had to make. I don't believe he is any different from many other WWII storytellers in describing the atrocities of the holocaust, but he impressed me with how all these people fit together seamlessly. He, also, does not spare us of any grief making it very realistic, and therefore - painful. Reading Skeletons at the Feast was a suspenseful experience, and I appreciated learning a little bit more about the war. All in all, it was a very good book.


  1. I've seen this out there but not sure when I'll get to it. Nice review!

  2. Thanks for the review! I'm putting this one on the list for if I do the War Through The Generations Challenge!


  3. Mary ~ I happened to see the BOCD at the library and grabbed it. :)

    Lezlie ~ This would be a perfect read for that challenge.

  4. I had wondered about this book and had hemmed and hawed about reading it. After your review of it I probably will get it out of the library for the War Challenge. Thanks Joy.

  5. I had no idea that he'd written a book this this. Sounds like one that I would like.

  6. Thanks for the review Joy - I actually got this from the library and started it - then thought this is so similar to the book thief (OK I didn't get very far!) that I wasn't sure I wanted to read it (especially around the holidays). I like Bohjalian's books and will have to try it again!

  7. I borrowed this from the library not too long ago, but had to return it unread. Hopefully I will get to borrow it again soon.

  8. Dar ~ I think it's worth the read and that you'd enjoy it.

    Maw Books ~ Yep, you probably would! :)

    Darcie ~ If you like Bohjalian's work, then you'll like it. This is my second book by him - I was not happy with the first one and told him that I would read another to give his writing another chance. This is the "another". I actually didn't dislike his writing in the other book. I didn't like the twist - I felt duped. My hope is that I get to Midwives in 2009.

    Marg ~ If you have an interest in the Holocaust, I can't imagine you not liking it.

  9. i have enjoyed Bohjalian's contemporary novels, especially Midwives and Before You Know Kindness - but i've been a little reluctant to read this one for some reason. thanks for the positive review; i hope to get to it sometime soon.

  10. Wow! How did this slip under my radar? I love books about WWII and I've read several great books by Bohjalian, so I'm surprised I didn't snatch this one up the minute if was published!! Definitely going to go on my MUST read list, especially since I want to do a WWII endcap later next year. Thanks for the fabulous review, Joy!

  11. I've read so many positive reviews about this one. I'm glad to know you enjoyed it, too. It's on my wish list. Someday I'll get to it! :)

  12. I just got this on unabridged on audio. Hoping to get to it soon. Thanks for the review.

  13. I'm pretty hesitant about reading WWII books. They are so gut-wrenching. But then I read one and am always glad I did. So maybe this will be my next one.

  14. Wonderful review Joy! This one is on my TBR.

  15. Anonymous9:23 PM

    I need to add Chris Bohjalian to my list of authors to read in 2009. I wanted to in 2008, but there was no time.

  16. This sounds really interesting. Great review Joy and I will definitely be checking this one out!

  17. Just wanted to stop by and wish you all the best in the New Year! Hope you're enjoying your holiday.

    BTW, I've also posted a wrap-up of the 2nds challenge here. Thanks so much for hosting it the last 2 years! :)

  18. Alisonwonderland ~ What has deterred you?

    Les ~ Perfect! I'm glad I finally introduced YOU to a book. :)

    Bookfool ~ If you like WWII novels, you'll like it. Oh yes, I just remembered that you do - you'll like it. :)

    Beth F. ~ I listened to this as well. I wonder how it would compare to reading it.

    Framed ~ The good news is that this is fiction. It didn't really happen. The bad news is that Bohjalian did a lot of research, so I'm thinking it's probable.

    Teddy Rose ~ Oh good. I look forward to reading your thoughts.

    J. Kaye ~ Bohjalian suggested to me to start with Midwives (because most people really like that one). I haven't read it yet, but I will. This would be a good place to start too. :)

    Samantha ~ Yay! I look forward to reading your thoughts, too.

  19. Tanabata ~ How did I miss you!?!

    Happy New Year to you, too! We went on vacation during the Christmas week (out of tradition) and had a wonderful time. Do/Did your plans include anything special?

    You're welcome. It really was my pleasure to host the 2nds Challenge - it was one of my favorite challenges (not that I'm bias or anything). :)

  20. I'm so glad you liked this story, I did too. So far I like what I've read by Bojalian. I really enjoyed The Double Bind too, although I suspect that's the one you didn't and I understand why. But Skeletons At The Feast is one I'd read again, and I rarely reread a novel. Thanks for reviewing it.

  21. Sandra ~ Yep, that's the one I didn't care for. :) This one was very good. I think he's a good writer and will read more.

  22. I just stumbled upon your blog, and it's great. This sounds like a fascinating book. Would it be okay to link to your review on War Through the Generations?

    Diary of an Eccentric

  23. Anna ~ Thank you and sure - link away! :)


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