Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian

February 10, 2011 at 13:16 (Book Reviews, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Poorly Rated Books, Romantic Fiction, War and Politics) (, , , )

3/10

Firstly, Bohjalian’s description of the budding romance between Callum and Anna was simply unreadable, and begs the question whether there are any clean historical fictions left to us! Gratuitous, and utterly unimportant to the story itself. It actually detracted significantly from the gravity of the situation, and while it is understandable that Bohjalian wanted to show “normal life” thriving even amidst such horror, he could have done it quite well enough without all the rumpus.

That aside, Skeletons at the Feast was generally an unsatisfying read. There was no sense of climax or crisis, only a plodding inevitability that mirrored the depression of some of his more deprived characters, and trickled to a sudden and rather bland ending. His greatest success in the narrative was how he effortlessly blended scenes from past and present, and switched viewpoints with an elegance and delicacy rarely seen in modern fiction. This intriguing and capable style rescued the book from what otherwise might have been an utter loss, when considering its insipid storyline and truly awful attempts at romance.

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