Sunday, May 25, 2008

Skeletons at the Feast

If you have not read Chris Bohjalian's new book  Skeletons at the Feast, go find it at your local library or bookstore. The title may leave you puzzled when you first hear it, but it's the story of a once wealthy German refugee family trying to outrun the Russians who are closing in during the waning days of WWII. Fearing the atrocities of the Russians, many ordinary Germans would rather die than submit, so they are racing against the clock to reach American and British lines. This particular family is also sheltering a Scottish POW who was forced to work on their farm and with whom the daughter has fallen in love. Two of her brothers are still fighting for the glory of the Third Reich. Her mother cannot believe the stories she has heard about the fate of the Jews during Hitler’s reign, and it takes a young man hiding out as a Nazi to complete the circle as all of their stories begin to collide on the road to redemption for some and freedom for others.

Bohjalian has written a beautiful book with an interesting assortment of characters that bring a different perspective to WWII. He tells the reader of ordinary people during times of extraordinary hardship while evoking emotions of fear, despair, hope, love and tenderness.