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The Storyteller | [Jodi Picoult]

The Storyteller

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?
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Publisher's Summary

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

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  •  
    mindusq san francisco 09-03-13
    mindusq san francisco 09-03-13 Member Since 2008

    Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Made me feel good to be an American"

    How many novels, nonfiction accounts, documentaries and movies have I watched about the Holocaust? My mother even worked at the Simon Wiesenthal Center. I figure I've had my fill of understanding that hideous time in history and yet...I was compelled, once again, to listen to the grotesque details, to ponder the evil and fortitude of human beings and to wonder what I would have done if I'd been alive then.

    And then when the heroes show up to rescue the prisoners, I felt that wonderful elation I always do, to be on the side of the good guys who sent Hitler and his minions running for their lives.

    Evocative writing with fresh details and intimate performances all the way around. Learned new things and even had to look up Schutzhaftlagerführer in Wikipedia.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jessica Seattle, WA, United States 02-28-13
    Jessica Seattle, WA, United States 02-28-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "She has outdone herself!"
    Where does The Storyteller rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I have about 400 books in my audible library, and this ranks among the best!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storyteller?

    All of it.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    There are several narrators for all of the roles, and all were great.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The ending.


    Any additional comments?

    I have read all of Jodi Picoult's books, and they are all great but this one is the best.

    14 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 03-20-13
    Taryn Suffern, NY, United States 03-20-13 Member Since 2005

    Addicted to Audible!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth listening to"

    I have been a big fan of Jodi Picoult, despite the fact that in the past few years she seems to be sacrificing quality for quantity. In this book she has gotten her groove back on a horrific subject and handles it with amazing realism! The holocaust story was very well constructed and at some points literally had me in tears. The writing was Jodi at her best! The rest of the book was a disappointment. Perhaps she needed a more honest editor. First of all there were too many unnecessary storylines which just distracted from the important story. Second, her allegorical story/fable was unnecessary and did nothing for the book. Third, it seemed that she borrowed from, The Reader, in that a prisoner survives because of a story/reading. I also think the names she gave her characters are a bit silly-sisters named Sage, Saffron & Pepper - are you kidding me? The readers were all great except for the voice of Misha, I found her intonation annoying.
    All in all, I enjoyed listening to this book and I would still recommend it even with the negatives that I have described.

    9 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Calder 03-11-13
    L. Calder 03-11-13 Member Since 2004

    Gardening Geek

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funny, bleak, enlightening, unputdownable"

    Jodi Picoult IS indeed THE Storyteller of our time. All her books grab you at the start, envelope you in intriguing plots and then trash the rest of your life until the inevitable ending, which you put off by reading the last chapter, very, very slowly.

    Being a lapsed Jew myself, who has assiduously avoided all things Holocaust (as my Sunday and Hebrew schools filled me to a lifetime capacity of the atrocities,) I've got to admit, Picoult, skillfully brought that dark period of time to life in a way I'd never read before. Admittedly interminable at times, her tale flew by due to the empathy she illicits by drawing such complex, fallible, intelligent characters. The examination of forgiveness was quite fascinating as well. Her dialogue just gets better and better with each novel. Not sure how she manages to elicit a chuckle in the same paragraph that grips your gut.

    Since Picoult is such a studious researcher, with each book I learn so much and am of course amply entertained by her excellent dose of low self-esteem female, estranged to men, finding love with the policeman, detective, lawyer or loner. Love the way she weaves in a well crafted mystery, amidst the squabbling siblings and small town eccentrics.

    It's interesting to me that another favorite author, Alice Hoffman, also just re-examined the Jewish culture she shed in her youth in a very fine, albeit somber re-telling of the Masada massacre in 70 CE. (hmm…. in The Storyteller the main character, Sage, finds on the bedstead in the apartment of the ex-Nazi "an Alice Hoffman novel.")

    Why, in reexamining ones religious roots, would one goes to horrendous genocides instead of looking at the religion itself? Remember, I'm a Jew as well, but still don't see the point of going over and over how we over-came being victims in the past. Where are the novels examining what the Israeli Jews are doing to the Palestinians, and why?

    OK, done being a kvetch. Do read The Story Teller because it is indeed an excellent listen and damn fine historical novel as well. (And then answer my question, please?)

    8 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle st paul, MN, United States 03-10-13
    Danielle st paul, MN, United States 03-10-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Not riveting... Slightly weird"

    I have LOVED most of Picoult's books (Nineteen Minutes, Sister's Keeper, Salem Falls are favorites) but Lone Wolf was a disappointment and I hoped it wasn't the dreaded Big Author Slide, but alas it appears to be the case.

    Normally, it's fun to have all of the seemingly unrelated facets and characters of a story merge together but this was so disjointed and all over the place (that vampire/werewolf attempt was bizarre) that I found myself suddenly thinking Wait....Whaaat.?

    The book seems a bit thrown together, the only part that seemed to be well researched and well written was the Holocaust portion with the remainder of the book as fluff and filler. Bummer.

    10 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Calliope 08-31-14
    Calliope 08-31-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "1001 Nights in Nazi Germany"

    Sage is a young woman who befriends an elderly man in her grief support group, and he asks her to kill him as a kind of twisted form of justice for his previous crimes 60+ years before when he was an SS officer..........but that's not really what the book is about. Too bad, because that would have made a more interesting book about justice, forgiveness, sacrifice, self-loathing, and self-doubt.

    Instead we get a retrospective story about how Sage's grandmother lived and survived though World War II and internment in Nazi concentration camps, in great part because of her unfinished and ongoing story that she'd written.....the story had captivated an SS officer who helped her survive Auschwitz because he kept wanting to know what happened next in her story. That forms the biggest chunk of the book, and it's mixed with that telling of the story that she (the grandmother) wrote - which bears an unfortunate resemblance to a teen vampire love story. 'I killed for him, isn't that a sign that we were meant to be together?' -- Ugh!

    There's a definite undertone of Christian mythology in the book, in spite of the fact that Sage is an atheist and her grandmother was a Jew who survived the holocaust: Mary, Joseph, Adam, and Eve (well, it's actually Eva), all appear and bread is a central thread as the staff of life and livelihood, and the manifestation of the baker's emotions. Overall, I thought it was rather heavy handed in it's symbolism and language.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    AudioAddict 04-04-14
    AudioAddict 04-04-14

    I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Five stories perfectly entwined"

    STORY - Audible has categorized this as a mystery/thriller/modern detective. I would call it historical fiction, though there are mystery and detective components. The main characters are richly developed, and each tells his own story. There is Josef, who is an old man haunted by the crimes he commited against Jews during the Holocaust. Sage is a young woman who works as a baker at night so she can hide her disfigured face from the world. Leo is a government attorney who finds and prosecutes war criminals. Minke, Sage's grandmother, was a prisoner at Auschwitz and is "The Storyteller." Minke writes a story about Anya and two vampire brothers, which captivates those who hear it.

    The book jumps between these five stories, sometimes for hours at a time and sometimes just for minutes. They are easy to keep straight because they are each read by a different narrator. Minke's story about her life at Auschwitz is very long and details numerous atrocities, but it didn't bother me to listen to it. Josef seeks forgiveness for his crimes and surprisingly asks Sage to kill him, which causes Sage to meet Leo and investigate who Josef really was and what crimes he might have committed.

    The book is deep and emotional, but I found it enjoyable and not gut-wrenching. Many of the characters are emotionally damaged. Some heal and some do not. The ending is very good, and I must say it came as a complete surprise to me.

    PERFORMANCE - How can you go wrong with five different narrators? They all did great jobs.

    OVERALL - I highly recommend this book to anyone, as long as you don't mind probing around in this dark period of our history.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa 11-25-13
    Lisa 11-25-13
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    "Excellent"

    I am a big fan of Jodi Picoult, though I don't like all of her books. I think Storyteller is her best book ever. It is not what I expected but that is a good thing. It starts off slow but that information is needed to build the story. Stay with it and you will not be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesli 11-23-13
    Lesli 11-23-13 Member Since 2011

    avid bookworm

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "riveting!!!!!!"
    Where does The Storyteller rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    top 5


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    the narrators succeed in bringing each character to life


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    the entire section devoted to her grandmothers story was captivating. I became completely lost in the tale and when it returned to the current day portion of the story I had honestly forgotten all about the original premise for the book.


    Any additional comments?

    Jodi Picoult continues to create classic reads that will endure. highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ReluctantReader 11-21-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Predictable and Amazing"
    Would you listen to The Storyteller again? Why?

    I wouldn't listen to the entire thing, I would listen to Minka's Story again. I found it Heart wrenching and enthralling. Also I would listen to the story Minka wrote. Even though I liked Leo, even if he was (to me) a little too good to be true. I wouldn't want to listen to the story between him and Sage...unless his first question to her was - where's Eva? We walked into the house and Eva wasn't here - where's Eva Sage? And if indeed she did have Eva, why would she have had her if she didn't know what had happened?


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storyteller?

    Two friends, a bad tooth and a fountain pen. When someone loves you - they'll do anything to help you.


    What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The Narrator Suzanne Toren brought Minka's memories to life in a way hearing it read in my own head by my own voice -never would have.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes I did shed a tear listening to Minka. And I laughed with Sage at a moment when the person whose face she laughed in - somehow didn't expect it,


    Any additional comments?

    There was a point when Leo went to speak to Minka - and I knew how it would end - I felt it was the only way it should end, and was I pleased that it did end that way.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 288 results PREVIOUS12329NEXT
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  • Sarah
    LEEDS, United Kingdom
    4/12/13
    Overall
    "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.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Victoria
    London, United Kingdom
    7/19/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ambitiously promises a lot which it can’t quite de"
    Any additional comments?

    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.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • loulabellauk
    Surrey, United Kingdom
    4/14/13
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Greet
    UK
    2/3/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good, but..."

    Being a great fan of Jodi Picoult, again, this book is excellent if somewhat terrifying, and like all others I have read by her, extremely well researched.
    However, I found the voice of Leo (Fred Berman) hugely distracting and irritating because of the sharp intake of breath before each sentence. The other narrators were good.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Wendy
    Ramsgate, United Kingdom
    10/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Moving, but predictable"

    The writing and narration were beautiful. Minka's retelling of her experiences of the Holocaust was heartbreaking and moving. Much of the rest was entirely predictable and cliched.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • trish
    10/14/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A must read...."
    If you could sum up The Storyteller in three words, what would they be?

    Excellent believable thoughtful


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Storyteller?

    The grandmothers story of the german camps.....I had no idea!


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    I like the way each person became alive


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Don,t listen to it at night.....you won,t sleep......too much for one sitting


    Any additional comments?

    My fav bit was the song for her mothers funeral.......sort of thing that would happen to me

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • L. Mcfarlane
    Saltburn-by-the-sea
    9/12/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heartbreaking and Wonderful in Equal Parts"

    I love Jodi Picoult and this is the first of her books I have listened to (altho I also have the paperback). The narration is excellent and added to the depth of the story for me, I guessed at the twist early in the tale, but it doesnt spoil the ending, in fact I thought it made the revelations even more poignant. Another winner from Jodi.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The lives I have known"
    If you could sum up The Storyteller in three words, what would they be?

    Hell and back


    What did you like best about this story?

    Three stories in one. The story Sage is living, her grandmother experience in Nazi Germany and the story Sage grandmother has written.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

    Sage. Sage is having an internal struggle with herself. On one hand she is living with the guilt of her mothers death and the scars on her face. On the other hand can she forgive Josephs his crimes against the Jews during the war. Is it her place to forgive. Can she forgive herself for living while her mother died.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When, as a young girl, Sage grandmother witnessed the cold blooded murder of her friend and the subsequent beating, leaving her battered and broken.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved this story. I will no doubt listen to it again and again

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Miss
    LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom
    6/16/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Brutal, Harrowing, Heartfelt"

    A story that will make you wretch, cry, reflect, smile and stay with you.

    The Storyteller begins in present day when a complex young woman Sage, meets an old German man Josef at grief group - it's not the most gripping start but stick with it - what follows are chapters told from different characters POV flashing between present day and the period of the Second World War.

    The characters Sage, Leo, Josef, Minka and Anya each build the story layer by layer with tales of horrendous brutality, contemplations of good and evil and questions about humanity.

    Josef's chapters left me feeling sick and at times I thought I would have to turn off as the descriptive passages were so brutal - and yet I kept listening because I knew these details were gleaned from the truth of our living history.

    Minka's chapter's were equally harrowing and took up the largest part of the book, although I was happy to hear her story, which was so full of tragedy, unfairness, hardship, family and in a weird kind of way luck too.

    Whilst I have watched films and read non-fiction accounts of the brutality the Jewish people faced during the rise of Hitlers Army there is something about the first person narrator in this book that transports you right there, so the horror's are tangible.

    Each time I paused this book I found myself thinking about it constantly and whilst I know my mind will eventually drift back to the little problems in my life it has actually made me appreciate how lucky I am to live in a society where I am free, valid and equal. I feel like telling anyone who has little knowledge of the brutality of the concentration camps to read this book, just so they understand the suffering.

    I have read several of Jody Picoult's books, my favourite up until know being 'Change of Heart' but the 'Storyteller' has snatched the top spot - a truly powerful and moving novel.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • C. S. Brennan
    Leeds, UK and Maganey, Ireland
    1/28/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating"
    What made the experience of listening to The Storyteller the most enjoyable?

    I'm not one to leave reviews generally, but i thought that i would for this book as i was enthralled from the moment i started listening to it. Wonderfully narrated with raw emotion and the way it has been told really let you feel that you wre there in the moment. Harrowing at times, but extrenely well done and with great sensitivity.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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