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
Having read a boat-load of murder mysteries, thrillers and suspense novels, I am always pleased when an author surprises me with an ending that I had not anticipated. The topic of this book is an extremely sensitive one and it was a tad too long...chapters could have been removed without distroying the message. But I still very much enjoyed it . I particularly enjoyed Sage's breadmaking description. Delightful. The narrator is excellent...not too over-the-top!
I'm a big Picoult fan, but this book represents a significant departure from her usual character-driven, "moral dilemma" tale.
The book is well-written and reasonably well-narrated (I didn't care for the female reader's attempt at male dialogue, but it wasn't terrible), but I found the story to be lacking in Picoult's usual intensity.
The moral dilemma, while present, isn't a driving force. Much time is spent on a fantasy story told by one of the characters. The protagonist strikes me as too weak, unrealistically lacking in confidence.
On the bright side, the fictionalized retelling of one character's experience with Nazi occupation in WWII is excellent. Picoult covers not just the death camps, but also the long constriction of freedoms that led up to that extreme. Definitely my favorite aspect of that book.
That said, I listened to most of the story while on a long road trip. I'm now just 30 minutes from the end, and I can't say that I feel terribly compelled to finish. Nope, not even to hear the resolution of the moral dilemma. The history part is over and I've lost interest.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
This book had all the right elements for a great read: it was a good story that had many levels, the writing was good, there were lessons about history, as well as philosophical or ethical questions to ponder.
I loved the way there were 3 different stories going on at once. First there is the story of Sage and her struggle with how to interact with Joseph Weber and her meeting Leo. Then there is Minka’s story of the Upior, based on an old Polish fairy tale. This was interesting as a parallel and a metaphor for many of the actions and horrors that occurred in the book. The third and, to me, the most dramatic story was that of Minka herself and her path into and finally out of two different German concentration camps. The author very skillfully weaves these 3 story lines together in such a way that each story line adds to and helps to develop the other.
Spoiler alert here: I had trouble putting the book down! If I have any criticism, it’s with the ending. I’m not sure that the big switch in the character of Joseph Weber at the end was necessary or very well explained. Also, the idea that Sage pulls off her final act but seems to have no intention of sharing it or talking about it with Leo seems unrealistic. OR perhaps I’m unconvinced that she really could or would pull off this final decision. I feel like this final section was, perhaps, rushed or underdeveloped in relation to all that had come before. However, this didn't spoil my enjoyment of the book overall.
I highly recommend it.
I only cared to listen to this once. Depressing holocaust story with the expected cruelty and evil. Even the baker grand-daughter's story that is entwined with her grandmother's death bed story is lonely and sad.
I read Picoult's website, carefully examining her reason for why she wrote this story, but I don't get it. If she thinks she has added to the body of knowledge of the Holocaust, she is sadly mistaken.
This story has a novel twist in it, but only one. It brings nothing new to the table regarding the Holocaust survivors. In fact, I just finished reading a few months ago the memoirs of women survivors in A Train in Winter before starting the Storyteller. In so many ways Storyteller repeats the exact same story. Picoult brings no new ways of understanding personal dynamics in the camps, no new ways of understanding survivors or their offspring. I'm to going to accuse her plagiarism, but scene for scene in the march out of the camp to the next camp, I could have been in the other book. Yes, I realize she used a lot of research but she should have read the body of literature out there already to be original.
I read A Train in Winter for book club; Storyteller for my own entertainment because I liked My Sister's Keeper. Picoult's Storyteller is one dimensional. For a nuanced look at suffering in WWII and a book which brings a new perspective to the table, try The Book Thief, or go see the movie.
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.
the narrators succeed in bringing each character to life
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.
Jodi Picoult continues to create classic reads that will endure. highly recommended.
A 10 out of 10. This is a great story and the characters were interweaved with great precision. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Minka was my favorite character. When listening to her tell her story, I sometimes forgot I was listening to an audio book and I found myself feeling like her story was told from the experiences of a real person.
I haven't listened to the narrators' other performances, but I thought they were all excellent in their rendition of the characters.
The Storyteller is an emotional family story that is so well written. Jodi Picoult does such an amazing job describing the characters and really makes you connect with them. A couple good twists and turns as well! The narration is some of the best I've heard in an audio book so far. The great narration helps even further to mold the great story.
Hearing Minka's story blew me away. I wanted to listen to her for hours.
"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.
"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.
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.
fantastic! was hooked immediately, really got drawn into this book. made me think about things in a different way.
"Great listening. Fantastic storytelling!"
This was great. I had never read any of this author but it's made me want to read more.
Jodi as always draws and holds you throughout
With a gripping story which descriptions that paint perfect picture in your mind
"Major flaw in the plot"
Probably not, and this is a first with a Picoult book. The premise the book was based on was flawed. At no point did Sage ask "Why can't you kill yourself? Why do I have to bear the guilt/responsibility?" If he wanted to die, due to the guilt of his actions, why would she facilitate his death, enabling him to continue to spread his evil to another person?
I did learn things about the holocaust and it was well written and flowed well. However I just couldn't accept the key premise of the storyline.
First Picoult book I've read which made me feel it was written to meet a deadline, not because there was a story waiting to be told.
"Great story pity about the ending"
I enjoyed this story up until the last chapter. Felt the strong story line could have done with a more dramatic ending.
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