The spark for Chris Bohjalian's 12th novel, Skeletons at the Feast, set during the last days of World War II in German-occupied Poland, came from diary entries written by a young German woman from 1920 to 1945, which were shared by the woman's grandson. Bohjalian's subsequent research into the period and interviews with German refugees and Holocaust survivors convinced him that a compelling story could be told.The kit is hosted at the Nashua Public Library.
His novel reflects varied points of view in the last, hellish months as the Third Reich is crumbling under attacks by Soviet forces from the east and Allied forces from the west. There is 18-year-old Anna, daughter of a well-heeled Prussian farmer and his pro-Reich wife. Her family supported Hitler in the early days, when the Fuehrer promised to reclaim German lands given to Poland after World War I; the family continues to fight for the Reich even when it seems hopeless.
The second kit added this month is Still Alice by Lisa Genova. From a review in Book Page:
First-time novelist Lisa Genova self-published Still Alice before the book was picked up by Pocket Books. But the knowledge she has gained from earning a doctorate in neuroscience and serving as an online columnist for the National Alzheimer's Association, shines throughout this debut, a realistic portrayal of an intelligent, independent woman facing early-onset Alzheimer's disease.The Still Alice Kit is hosted by the Fitzwilliam Town Library.
It's painful to witness scene after scene of forgetting, particularly as Alice awaits and then denies her diagnosis. But through those incidents, Alice's plight evokes the reader's sympathy and understanding. Still Alice tracks her mental decline over a two-year period, revealing how early-onset Alzheimer's affects Alice's relationships, career and sense of self. During the disease's rapid progression, she becomes more and more dependent on her husband and three grown children to guide her through each day. Once-mundane tasks become to-do list fodder. Alice makes notes to remind herself to take medication every morning and evening. She's even prone to forget to teach classes.
There's plenty for your book group to discuss with these two new kit titles--enjoy!