Skeletons at the Feast
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.
Among the group is eighteen-year-old Anna Emmerich, the daughter of
Prussian aristocrats. There is her lover, Callum Finella, a
twenty-year-old Scottish prisoner of war who was brought from the stalag
to her family’s farm as forced labor. And there is a twenty-six-year-old
Wehrmacht corporal, who the pair know as Manfred–who is, in reality, Uri
Singer, a Jew from Germany who managed to escape a train bound for
As they work their way west, they encounter a countryside ravaged by
war. Their flight will test both Anna’s and Callum’s love, as well as
their friendship with Manfred–assuming any of them even survive.
Perhaps not since The English Patient has a novel so deftly captured
both the power and poignancy of romance and the terror and tragedy of
war. Skillfully portraying the flesh and blood of history, Chris
Bohjalian has crafted a rich tapestry that puts a face on one of the
twentieth century’s greatest tragedies–while creating, perhaps, a
masterpiece that will haunt readers for generations.
The Double Bind
Throughout his career, Chris Bohjalian has earned
a reputation for writing novels that examine some of the most important
issues of our time. With Midwives, he explored the literal and
metaphoric place of birth in our culture. In The Buffalo Soldier,
he introduced us to one of contemporary literature’s most beloved foster
children. And in Before You Know Kindness, he plumbed animal
rights, gun control, and what it means to be a parent.
Chris Bohjalian’s riveting fiction keeps us awake deep into the night.
As The New York Times has said, “Few writers can manipulate a
plot with Bohjalian’s grace and power.” Now he is back with an ambitious
new novel that travels between Jay Gatsby’s Long Island and rural New
England, between the Roaring Twenties and the twenty-first century.
When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her
bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed.
Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to
work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a
history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let
anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was
telling the truth: before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker was a
successful photographer who had indeed worked with such legends as Chuck
Berry, Robert Frost, and Eartha Kitt.
As Laurel’s fascination with Bobbie’s former life begins to merge into
obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a
deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth will lead
her further from her old life—and into a cat-and-mouse game with
pursuers who claim they want to save her.
sIn this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and
compelling characters—including Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan—Chris
Bohjalian takes readers on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most
unforgettable journey yet.
Before You Know Kindness (2004)
For ten summers, the Seton family—all three
generations—met at their country home in New England to spend a week
together playing tennis, badminton, and golf, and savoring gin and
tonics on the wraparound porch to celebrate the end of the season. In
the eleventh summer, everything changed. A hunting rifle with a single
cartridge left in the chamber wound up in exactly the wrong hands at
exactly the wrong time, and led to a nightmarish accident that put to
the test the values that unite the family—and the convictions that just
may pull it apart.
Before You Know Kindness is a family saga that is timely in its
examination of some of the most important issues of our era, and
timeless in its exploration of the strange and unexpected places where
we find love.
As he did with his earlier masterpiece, Midwives, Chris Bohjalian
has written a novel that is rich with unforgettable characters—and
absolutely riveting in its page-turning intensity.
Idyll Banter: Weekly Excursions to a
Very Small Town (2003)
In March 1986, while living in Brooklyn, Chris
Bohjalian and his wife were cab-napped on a Saturday night and taken on
a forty-five-minute joy ride in which the driver ignored all traffic
lights and stop signs. Around midnight he deposited the young couple on
a near-deserted street, where police officers were about to storm a
crack house. Bohjalian and his wife were told to hit the ground for
their own protection. While lying on the pavement, Bohjalian's wife
suggested that perhaps it was time to move to New England.
Months later they traded in their co-op in Brooklyn for a century-old
Victorian house in Lincoln, Vermont (population 975), and Bohjalian
began chronicling life in that town in a wide variety of magazine essays
and in his newspaper column, "Idyll Banter."
These pieces, written weekly for twelve years and collected here for the
first time, serve as a diary of both this writer's life and how America
has been transformed in the last decade. Rich with idiosyncratic
universals that come with being a parent, a child, and a spouse, Chris
Bohjalian's personal observations are a reflection of our own common
The Buffalo Soldier: A Novel (2002)
With his trademark emotional heft and storytelling
skill, bestselling author Chris Bohjalian presents this resonant novel
about the formation of an unconventional family–the ties that bind it,
and the strains that pull it apart. Two years after their twin daughters
died in a flash flood, Terry and Laura Sheldon, a Vermont state trooper
and his wife, take in a foster child. His name is Alfred; he is ten
years old and African American. And he has passed through so many
indifferent families that he can’t believe that his new one will last.
In the ensuing months Terry and Laura will struggle to emerge from their
shell of grief only to face an unexpected threat to their marriage;
Terry’s involvement with another woman. Meanwhile, Alfred cautiously
enters the family circle, and befriends an elderly neighbor who inspires
him with the story of the buffalo soldiers, the black cavalrymen of the
old West. Out of the entwining and unfolding of their lives, The
Buffalo Soldier creates a suspenseful, moving portrait of a family,
infused by Bohjalian’s moral complexity and narrative assurance.
Trans-Sister Radio (2000)
With Trans-Sister Radio, Chris Bohjalian,
author of the bestseller Midwives, again confronts his very human
characters with issues larger than themselves, here tackling the
explosive issue of gender.
When Allison Banks develops a crush on Dana Stevens, she knows that he
will give her what she needs most: attention, gentleness, kindness,
passion. Her daughter, Carly, enthusiastically witnesses the change in
her mother. But then a few months into their relationship, Dana tells
Allison his secret: he has always been certain that he is a woman born
into the wrong skin, and soon he will have a sex-change operation.
Allison, overwhelmed by the depth of her passion, and finds herself
unable to leave Dana. By deciding to stay, she finds she must confront
questions most people never even consider. Not only will her own life
and Carly’s be irrevocably changed, she will have to contend with the
outrage of a small Vermont community and come to terms with her lover’s
new body–hoping against hope that her love will transcend the physical.
Midwives (1998) --
Winfrey's Book Club, 1998
A talented midwife is arrested for murder when she
saves a baby by performing a Caesarean section once she believes the
mother has died--only to have her assistant insist later that the woman
was still very much alive. Told in the mesmerizing voice of the
midwife's daughter, Midwives depicts the aftermath of the
The Law of Similars (1999)
From the best-selling author of Midwives comes a
startlingly powerful story of three people whose lives are irrevocably
changed by illness, healing, and love.
Two years after his wife's sudden, accidental death, a Vermont deputy
state prosecutor, Leland Fowler, finds that the stress of raising their
small daughter alone has left him with a chronic sore throat. Desperate
to rid himself of a malady that has somehow managed to elude
conventional medicine, Leland turns to homeopath Carissa Lake--who cures
both his sore throat and the aching loneliness at the root of his
Just days after Leland realizes he has fallen in love with the first
woman who has mattered to him since his wife, one of Carissa's asthma
patients falls into an allergy-induced coma. When Carissa comes under
investigation, straight-arrow Leland is faced with a moral and ethical
dilemma of enormous proportions.
Set against the ongoing clash between conventional and alternative
medicine--between what we know science can offer and the miracles that
always seem to be just beyond our reach--The Law of Similars is a
haunting and deeply atmospheric tale.
Chris Bohjalian is known for the compassion and grace that mark his
characters as well as for the sheer storytelling power that propels his
fiction. With The Law of Similars, he has offered something more: a
page-turning examination of the fragile threads that hold people
together when the worst that can happen really does...and the unexpected
and luminous ways we are made well. It is a remarkable achievement.
Water Witches (1995)
Set in the Vermont countryside, Water Witches
is a tale of the clash between progress and tradition, science and
magic. In the midst of a nightmarish New England drought, cynical ski
industry lobbyist Scottie Winston is trying to get a large ski resort
the permits it needs to tap already beleaguered rivers for snow. His
wife, his little girl, and his sister-in-law -- dowsers or "water
witches" all -- hope to stop him, however, in this gentle, comic,
Past the Bleachers
A Killing in the Real World (1988)
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