Skeletons at the Feast

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Skeletons at the feast)
Jump to: navigation, search
Skeletons at the Feast
Author Chris Bohjalian
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fiction
Published 2008 by Shaye Areheart
Media type Print
Pages 372 pp
ISBN 978-0-3073-9495-8
OCLC 174112672
LC Class PS3552.O495

Skeletons at the Feast is a novel by author Chris Bohjalian, published in 2008. It is the story of a journey in the waning months of World War II concerning the Emmerich family, who flee their beloved home in Prussia and move west to avoid the advancing Russian troops. The family consists of one of the novel's main protagonists, Anna; her mother, known affectionately as "Mutti"; her father, Rolf; her twin brother, Helmut; her younger brother, Theo; and the Scottish POW that once worked on the family's farm, Callum Finella, who becomes Anna's lover. Anna also has an older brother, Werner, who is off fighting in the war. Rolf and Helmut leave the family to aid in stopping the Russian advance and the rest continue on alone; on their westward journey they are joined by Uri Singer, an escaped Jew posing as a Nazi officer. Bohjalian said in an interview he was inspired to write the story after being persuaded to read a diary spanning from 1920 to 1945 belonging to Eva Henatsch, a German woman that embarked on a similar journey west across the Third Reich.

Plot summary[edit]

The plot of the story centers around a young Prussian girl, Anna Emmerich, and the broken remnants of her family as they flee westward from the advancing Russian army. Along with them they bring the Scottish POW, Callum Finella, with whom Anna has embarked on a secret love affair. As Anna, her mother, her younger brother Theo, and Callum trek across the Third Reich, other stories run parallel to theirs, including the story of Uri Singer, a Jew that leapt off the train to Auschwitz and survives by assuming identities belonging to various German soldiers; and Cecile, a French Jew taken prisoner in a concentration camp and, along with her fellow prisoners, forced to march westward to outdistance the Russian advance. Eventually all three stories come together when Anna's party, joined by Uri, crosses paths with the sad march of Cecile and the other prisoners. Throughout the novel, Anna struggles with the ideas of the atrocities the Nazis have committed and how she can possibly bear the burden of blame by the rest of the world.


The book was reviewed by The Los Angeles Times,[1] the USA Today,[2] Kirkus Reviews,[3] Thew New York Times,[4] and was "highly recommended" by The Historical Novel Society. [5]


  1. ^ Woods, Paula L. (2008-05-24). "Hellish days in Nazi Poland". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  2. ^ Moore, Dennis (2008-05-21). "'Skeletons' goes to war's marrow". USA Today. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  3. ^ "Skeletons at the Feast". Kirkus Reviews. 2010-05-20. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  4. ^ McCulloch, Alison (2008-07-13). "Fiction Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  5. ^ "Skeletons at the Feast". Historical Novel Society. Retrieved 2015-08-16. 

External links[edit]