Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
May 02, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Skeletons at the Feast

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Chris Bohjalian
publisher
Shaye Areheart
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B-

In works like 1998’s Midwives, Chris Bohjalian has shown a prodigious gift for exploring how people are transformed by a single horrific and random act. The horror in Skeletons at the Feast is relentless: A Prussian family, the Scottish POW assigned to work on their farm, and a Jew disguised as a Third Reich soldier attempt to escape through the frozen, war-torn tundra of 1945 Germany. Bohjalian’s characters are not unappealing, but they are no dramatic match for the constant spectre of death. Ultimately, they become flat clichés amid the terrible din of battle. B-

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