Jodi Picoult's poignant number one New York Times best-selling novels about family and love tackle hot-button issues head on. In The Storyteller, Sage Singer befriends Josef Weber, a beloved Little League coach and retired teacher. But then Josef asks Sage for a favor she never could have imagined - to kill him. After Josef reveals the heinous act he committed, Sage feels he may deserve that fate. But would his death be murder or justice?
©2013 Jodi Picoult (P)2013 Recorded Books
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
This books begins with Sage Singer's life. She chooses to be a baker working alone at night she says, to hide her scar(s). She tells us "I leave the dough alone. It's silly to anthropomorphize bread......it needs to sit quietly, to retreat from touch and noise and drama in order to evolve and so do I". Sage is evolving; she rejects her religious heritage; she is an atheist.
She finds herself befriending a very old German man with a past that is perhaps entwined with her family somehow. She is faced with her Jewish roots. Sage must make choices that cause her to question her most basic beliefs.
I usually stay way from detailed stories about the Holocaust, I just find it too horrific. This author does go there. So just know to expect a detailed first person account of many atrocities.
I liked that the author is very serious and addresses these issues head on. And then at times Ms. Picoult made me giggle, she writes,“....tutoring a four year old to get into an exclusive preschool made as much sense as hiring a swim coach for a guppy......”
I liked this book because it held my interest throughout. Although at times, for me, Ms. Picoult's writing lacks something, it was easy for me to overlook because I was really hooked in the plot.
Overall this is a solid good book.
Based on the summary, I thought most of the story would be centered on Josef, however, it was more about Sage's grandmother, , a victim and survivor of the Holocaust. I think I was looking forward to a more in depth exploration of a SS officer during and after the war, and that is the reason why I haven't given this a 5. Having said this, it is a very good story with good narration. I really liked "My Sister's Keeper" and did not like at all "Lone Wolf", so Jodi Picoult books for me can be hit or miss. I guessed most of the ending, however, the book has made me think about the characters and what I liked and did not like about some of them, well after finishing the book. I would recommend this book to others.
Absolutely. I haven't read the print version, but this book lends itself to being the perfect book for the audio format. The story is told by many points of view, including different voices of narration, and you can't help but being sucked into the story. I couldn't wait to be able to listen more and found myself annoyed when life got in the way. A theme throughout the book is "How does it (the story) end?" I found myself wanting to know the same and what happens next the whole way through the book including right up to the very end. Overall, a great book and a moving story!!
Sage - her internal struggles with grief and loss and the uncanny friendship she finds in Joseph only add to her struggles with his admission of his past secrets. Listening (and imagining) Sage evolve, transform and struggle with the task presented to her was fascinating and thought provoking.
Minka - when she opens up and tells of her past, you are drawn in. Her story is captivating and the narration makes you feel like you are sitting in the room as she shares her past in the ghetto and concentration camps.
No, my reaction to this book would be better described as captivated or spell bound. I was sucked in. While I did laugh out loud a few times (thanks to Leo's wittiness), I actually didn't cry. More times I was disgusted by the conditions and life described so many Jews were subject to.
There were some great quotes included in this book that I caught myself jotting down.
"Good people are good people. Religion has nothing to do with it."
"It's amazing what you convince yourself of if you buy into the lie. You can believe, for example, that a dead-end job is a career. You can blame your ugliness for keeping people at bay when in reality, you're crippled by the thought of letting another person scar you more deeply. You can tell yourself it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back because you can't lose someone you never had...."
Fast approaching retirement as a life long oncology nurse. I love family more than anything. I enjoy reading (audio only), movies, travels, paper crafting, photography, gardening and just being alive.
I must start by saying I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult and have read most of her books. (I did not like her last one, Lone Wolf.) I know she uses a formula but it usually works for me. This one didn't use her typical formula - sans courtroom scene. This was not one of my favorite Jodi books. I can't give you a good reason why though. It wasn't the Holocaust story line that bothered me. It was well done and obviously well researched. I felt like there were too many story lines and just too many parts that were not plausible.
I did not like the fable/ vampire part of the story at all. That is what may have ruined the book for me. It just kept getting in the way of the real story. I think the book would have been better without it. Also, I so wanted to get to know both brothers.
The ending was very predictable, so why wasn't it predictable to the main character?
I'd still recommend the book. The theme of forgiveness is one I will ponder for a long time. I am anxious to have my 25 year old daughter read it and see what she thinks.
I will admit that I am a longtime fan of Jodi Picoult but this book ranks very high, possibly the best. I was able to foresee most of the twists but actually "living" the story rendered that irrelevant. I was truly riveted.
The performance was OUTSTANDING. Each of the 4 narrators were spectacular as well as each reader's performance exemplary. When a male character lapses into a quite decent Katherine Hepburn, I was blown away. The voices, accents and inflections were spot on!
I very highly recommend this book. I think it is well worth a peek regardless of personal views of the subject matter or the author.
Retired book buyer/book manager for wholesale distributor in the 5 largest northeast states. Prolific reader who was inundated with ARCs.
Moral dilemnas, the most difficult of ethical considerations are embraced in this tale of a Nazi who wants to die at the hands of the granddaughter of one of his victims. Fascinating characters, incredible story within a story, this is a journey for the listener into the past most have forgotten. Visceral and heart wrenching this amazingly well told story is one of Picoult''s most interesting and absorbing books.
NO ONE can tell a story like Jodi Picoult. The narration is unbelievable. Perfectly fits the image she wants to portray I imagine. I do not know how a person can read when the narrators bring a story to life. I was a little nervous about this one...not being a fan of history or period pieces but as I said....Jodi just brings it to life.
Freelance journalist, now living in Israel. Audible books listener for 30 years, when I had to pretend to be blind to get access.
Like a dancing bear, the key issue concerning "The Storyteller" isn't how well it's done, but that fact that it's done at all.
The fact that a book like this, with so much excellent and accurate information about not just the Shoah, but also about the people involved and the culture in Europe at the time, is simply amazing. The fact that an awesome number of readers not only read or listened to it, but reported liking or even loving it, is even more amazing. It's reaffirming, in some simple way. In a world where way too many people, on too many continents, are openly saying they wished Hitler had succeeded, it's good to know that opinion isn't shared by everyone.
I'm also astonished at the amount of research Ms. Picoult -- or her research assistants -- did. Although the main story line -- the writing of the story about the vampire or golem -- is fictional, virtually all of the stories that comprise Minka's experiences before and after her incarceration in the camps are factual and written about by actual survivors. In order to come up with all these little stories, someone did a whale of a lot of reading to find them all. That's impressive.
Also unusual is the fact that several times, Ms. Picoult manages to make the very clear distinction between Jewish "forgiveness" and that of the Christians. That was brave -- and much appreciated, at least by this Jew. This is a theme that almost never appears as a plot point -- at least not favorably -- in contemporary fiction, and it blew me away, how well she did it. Kol hakavod!
... which made it disappointing, I have to admit, that when Leo decides to take Sage to a shul in a subtle attempt to reconnect her to her roots, that he took her to a reform synagogue. That was a major false note and very disappointing. What that meant was that as Sage sat there, contemplating that her grandmother in her youth had said these same prayers, attended these same services, that simply wasn't true. Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat services at an orthodox shul would have been 100% familiar to her grandmother -- orthodox services haven't changed -- but in a reform organization, an awful lot would be different to Minka I'd guess that she would have been shocked. What a bummer! Since Ms. Picoult goes go far to be accurate in her Shoah history, why fall apart over that issue?
Even so, I greatly enjoyed the book. I'm delighted that it's out there, that a lot of people who would never think of picking up and reading a book on the Holocaust can get so much accurate history from a contemporary and compelling novel like this.
Unfortunately, I can't tell which of the narrators read the part of Leo, but he was absolutely excellent. Great voice, and perfect timing for Leo's many funny lines. Whichever of them it was, he was great.
On the whole? Great book. Very well done.
Most of this story kept my interest, with some parts dragging on a bit. It's a Holocaust tale with a twist. The main character at first seems to be Sage, a scarred and sad young women still grieving over the death of her mother. She befriends an old man (Josef), who tells her that he was an SS officer in Nazi Germany, and he want forgiveness and help in killing himself. I was drawn into these characters and their stories over the first third of the novel. Sage contacts the FBI. The second third of the novel is mostly told through the voices of Minke and Anna. Minke is Sage's grandmother and a Holocaust survivor. Minke's tale seems pretty generic, if you have read a lot about the Holocaust, which I have. Eventually, Minke's story did draw me in, but Anna's never did. It really dragged on. The final third of the novel connected all these different characters and stories, and picked up again. The ending of the novel seemed much too far fetched to me, and I did not believe Sage would act the way she did. I think it was just Judy Picoult trying to be clever and surprise the reader. She did surprise me but lost me in the process. I give this three stars because I was engaged by about 70% of this novel.
Canadian girl in Kansas, love audible, books on kindle or kindle fire, and old fashioned books! I enjoy fiction most, mostly books with strong female leads. Favourite authors: Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King, Jodi Picoult, Wally Lamb, Pat Conroy, Andre Dubus III, Lisa Genova, many more!
Overall, I felt that the perplexity and the fantastic chrarters are definitely the best part of 'The Story Teller. I was very hard to put down. I got lost in the points of view of the Holocaust, and then I found the point of view from a guard at Auschwitz. Picoult devles into th social history of the Holocaust, and tells the story from an officer who was there, and a woman who was there to take him abuses. She adds a certain 'human' element to each character, and displays their weaknesses, flaws, and strong points.
There are so many wonderful moments in The Story Teller, however the most memorable moment was when the grandmother is speaking, and tells of her best friend being murdered in front of her eyes even though she's not done anything wrong. The entire story was really very memorable and well done. It will stick with me forever.
I really loved the German accents, and the way the few lines in German sounded. I loved the different voices for each character.
I was especially moved when Sage, the granddaughter of the Holocaust survivor, learned of everything that had happened to her grandmother. The comparing of 'What if that would happen now?' is simply terrifying. Also, I cried a one point where a lady had to suffocate her baby to keep it quiet. (Won't say who)
I think this is the most intimate book Picoult has ever written and I could not put it down. It was a fantastic read.
"A real page turner"
Enjoyed this book but wasn't too impressed/satisfied with ending.
Gripping in many places but couldn;t really connect with character Sage.
"Ambitiously promises a lot which it can’t quite de"
This is a moving account of the holocaust with excruciating attention to the horror- the subject matter is dealt with better then might be expected. However, I was desperate for the book to do more that it managed to achieve- it promises in its subplots and undertones to explore the monstrous nature of humanity and unpack the complexity of forgiveness and death. However, these themes never seem to quite get out of the box. I failed to understand the ending and the decisions made by the central characters left me back tracking through the story to see whether it was my mistake to find it baffling. This book promises much that it can’t quite deliver, tackling an incredibly difficult subject it falls short of its own very high ambitions and, a victim of its own ambition, left me a little bewildered and disappointed.
"A Page Turner"
Whilst its definately a page turner that will have you listening way into the night its not my favourite Picoult book because I failed to relate to the main characters. I found Sage quite whiney but then she was in a difficult position.
You think you know it all but you will be led up different paths before finally it all becomes clear. Well worth listening to but somewhat different to what we have come to expect from Jodi Picoult. The subject matter is difficult and an horrendous period in time which she deals with very well.
The ending had to be a difficult one but I felt it to be the best we could expect.
I loved listening to this book as the narrators really bought it to life, totally first class reading.
Definitely, this was a haunting tale that stayed with me all day, I wanted to saver the listening absorbing the story along the way.
It was beautifully structured and the characters were believable with scenes which you felt part of in the way they were described and read.
"LOVED THIS BOOK"
Definitely. I loved the story, but the 4 narrators just brought it to life. Enjoyed every minute.
I loved them all, but particularly liked Sage, as she blossomed, and Leo's portrayal was very good.
Can't choose - they were all very good.
Not outloud, but it made a big impression.
Having read Jodi Picoult before and finding her books increasingly similar I had been reluctant to read this book. After several recommendations from friends and indeed from Twitter I decided to give this book a chance. It's a great book - it's so moving and really makes you think about life. It made me think about the holocaust in a way that I hadn't before. Now I'm very keen to read more Jodi Picoult's book - hope she doesn't let me down. The different narrators work well and enliven the story.
"another great read from Jodi Picoult"
This book was so interesting and also very sad. The events so horrific to read at times, but these events in history must be told. Away from the doom and gloom, love blossoms, also a surprise ending.
"Excellent, but maybe not ideal holiday reading..."
This was a really good story, up to Ms Picoult's usual standard. The unfurling plot made it gripping listening, and she always manages to inject some unexpected twists throughout.
I enjoyed the novelty of the fiction within the fiction too. However the storyline has some quite harrowing content, and although I was utterly gripped and spent every available moment of the first 4 days of my holiday listening, it did have the affect of making me quite introverted and reflective, which was unfortunate for my husband. So not one for some 'light holiday reading' - but don't miss out, Ms Picoult is never afraid of tackling difficult and controversial subjects.
"well researched emotional roller coaster"
This was a very well written book, but it was so unrelentingly horrible that I felt quite down at times. Not something I would like to listen too again
"Not your normal Piccoult, but totally gripping!"
I would recommend this book because we should never forgot the holocaust and it's effect on people's lives... this book illustrates that so well; it is extremely well written and not heavy-handed in it's treatment of the topic.
Josef's recounting of the things he did in such a matter-of-fact way was my most memorable moment.
Minka was my favourite character, I was right there with her throughout and she was totally believable.
Josef's last words to sage was the moment in the book where I nearly cried.
Go for it, you won't be disappointed.
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