Book Review: The Storyteller

October 4, 2013 4 stars, book review, Holocaust survivors, Jodi Picoult, Poland, WWII 1

Written by:  Jodi Picoult

Published by: Atria January 2013/Recorded Books

Narrators:  Mozhan Marno, Jennifer Ikeda, Edoardo Ballerini, Suzanne Toren, Fred Berman

Length: 18 hours 13 minutes

Source: Purchased on Audible

From Indiebound:

Some stories live forever . . .
Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t, and they become companions.

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret—one that nobody else in town would ever suspect—and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?

In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.

My Thoughts:
I have loved the books of Jodi Picoult for many years.  There have been stories I’ll never forget and a few I was less pleased with. The Storyteller is a tale that will stay with me for years to come.  While I’ve read many books discussing the Holocaust and it’s survivors this one is unique and I enjoyed the impact on later generations of those survivors.

The characters of Sage, and her grandmother Minka were the most detailed and developed.  We meet Minka from her life in Poland before being moved to special Jewish housing.  She was in a private school with non-jews, her German was better than most students.  Her knowledge of this language perhaps saved her when she was rounded up and sent to Auschwitz.    Minka was the storyteller, writing tales of a vampire, an undead, at a time when there were many worse demons hunting her.  Her gift was brilliant.

As Sage is torn between doing what seems ethically correct and yet morally wrong, she is thankful to learn so much more about her grandmother. 

The audio production was superb!! Each voice distinct and easy to identify.  Not all books that use multiple narrators are done well, this book almost requires it, since the voices of each character are so unique.

I’ve given this book a 4 out of 5 stars, and happily a less formula driven book by Picoult.  This book shows her true gift as an author and her heart for reaching deep into people’s soul to tell their story.  I recommend this book to loves of historical fiction and Jodi Picoult.  The audio is excellent.  

One Response to “Book Review: The Storyteller”

  1. bermudaonion

    I’m glad to see she strayed from her formula some. I enjoy her books but often feel manipulated after I’ve read them, if that makes sense.

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