Thursday, May 22, 2008

the long walk west

Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
Genre: historical fiction
Challenge: A-Z (title)
Review: This book is something of a departure for Bohjalian, since it doesn't take place in the northeast United States of today. Instead, it takes place during the end of WWII in Europe. As in his other books, though, Bohjalian is not afraid to ask difficult questions in subtle but inescapable manner.

Through the eyes of the daughter of a Prussian aristocratic family fleeing the Russian advance, a Scottish POW, and a German Jew who is masquerading as a German soldier, Bohjalian explores the nature of revenge and collective guilt. Interspersed with the story of their trek west through Germany, is the story of a group of women being marched in the same direction from a Nazi labor camp, through which Bohjalian explores hope and survival.

This book is not a romance, no matter what the publisher may claim. But it is a compelling and well-told story about the relationships that can develop between people who initially think they're on opposite sides of a war.

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