Review: Skeletons at the Feast

◆ Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
◆ Read june 2012
◆ Dutch Edition
❝ 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 
This book got my attention because it seemed different from other historical novels about World War II. Seldom have I come across a book that describes the events from the point of view of German people who had no influence or contribution whatsoever to the war. Skeletons at the Feast offers you this, aswell as the stories of a Scottish man who has become a prisoner of war, a young Jewish woman struggling to stay alive and a Jewish man who has taken on the identity of German corporal. This combination of varied characters makes for an intense yet touching storyline and you come to love each of them despite their flaws. 

One thing that bothered me throughout the book were the gruesome details that Bohjalian included whenever given the opportunity. The scenes of slaughter, rape, abuse and sex left nothing to the imagination because they were described thoroughly and often made my stomach turn itself upside down. Though I understand the need for such descriptions - for they add to the atmosphere of the book and make you feel like you were there at the time - it should have been less in my opinion. 

Other than that, I really loved it. The story moved at a perfect pace and attention was paid to even the smallest of characters. Bohjalian has painted a vivid picture of the way the war destructed the lifes of so many, but also how important friends, family and love are in times of despair. 

4 stars because:
✓ Original storyline
✓ In-depth, realistic characters
✓ Assimilation of historical facts  
✗ Too many morbid details


Brilliant Bookshelf

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