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
A Jodi Picoult novel, narrated by Mozhan Marno, Jennifer Ikeda, Edoardo Ballerini, Suzanne Toren, and Fred Berman. The Storyteller is just over 18 hours of listening in the audiobook format.
There are near 10,000 reviews, you need not go far for a synopsis of plot.
No issues with narration, it’s fine.
These comments are directed to the overall impression of mixing a diabolical historical event still an open sore to survivors/descendants, and a mythical SciFi character. The Storyteller very typically Picoult, well written, a page turning mystery with considerable research, a vivid imagination, or a combination of both.
The story within the story is a part of the book I didn’t particularly like - it was extraneous to the heart of the tale - one of the darkest eras of humanity, the holocaust. That segment of the story devoted to modern day Nazi hunting and the memories of Minka through a ghetto, box cars, multiple concentration camps, multiple losses of family and friends, Nazi visceral brutality and genocide, etc., is a gripping tale. These segments are interrupted with another story however, the fictional tale of a vampire - Minka’s writings and link to sanity during her ordeal.
The overall story had me completely lost, initially, until I figured out that the vampire story was Minka’s writings. I had trouble grasping this; it was so bizarre and unrelated to the holocaust. Even Picoult’s effort to weave the vampire tale into a Nazi siblings relationship at the end of the book is a bit silly.
I’m torn with liking/recommending this book. I guess if you like the work of Picoult, you’ll like the book. The Storyteller isn’t the best holocaust book, nor is it the best vampire book - but it is a Picoult novel. Not her best, though.
Tired teacher. That is, REtired teacher.
I have read other Jodi Picoult books and have enjoyed them a lot, but I loved this one. My favorite part by far was the Grandmother's Story. So powerful. I thought Picoult did a masterful job of pulling so many personalities together in a complicated yet totally believable way. My heart was in this story from the beginning. I am not at all sure I liked or agreed with the way it ended, but it has given me a lot to think about, and that is one of the marks of a good book.
The narrators were wonderful! Especially the grandmother. :)
Avid listener on my daily commute!
Possibly. As much as it was engaging throughout, some questions were answered much too late or not at all, and the major plot twist was too similar to that of another (more expertly told) quietly suspenseful work: Kate Morton's The Secret Keeper.
Don't wait so long to tell Minka's story. Don't repeat over 20 times the lines "My father trusted me with the details of his death" and "But in the end, I was too late" and then fail to deliver on a definitive father/death scene. Don't wait so long to tell why the young female narrator has a disfigured face and a guilty conscience...and then, when you do tell it, do try to give sufficient detail so that both those facts somehow make sense and remain vivid in the mind of the reader!
No, I dont think I have heard any of these multiple narrators before, although all were good. I particularly enjoyed Leo and Minka.
Possibly, if only to explain the unlikely way in which the essentially decent young female narrator, Sage, would rationalize her decision to continue to hide the truth about her onetime friend, Josef, from her new (and presumably lasting) romantic partner at the end of this book.
I would recommend this book. The narration was done by very talented individuals.
The ending was surprising and not expected. So many details of the story kept you hanging on.
Some authors try to capture an audience many adjectives and numerous descriptions that leave little for imagination; this often bores me. This author secured my attention with critical details and a provoking story. If you like to think while you listen and reflect consistently, this is the book for you.
Mila, Her voice was so genuine. It never sounded as if she was reading text but revealing accounts as if they just happened. If was captured by her tone, pauses and her pitch. I have listened to this book twice and I'm about to start the third time.
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?)
It lost me a bit in the middle, but otherwise this is yet another fine example of JP's talent for writing a great story with satisfying twists and turns. Recommended.
When the grandmother says to young Sage, "but look what is left of me" - very courageous brave old woman.
Leo and Sage, the playful bantor between these 2 -
The story telling by the grandmother became long and drawn out. After listening to the horror this woman went through, maybe I just didn't want to believe this could have possibly happened and the brutality continued and continued, but it did. Was it that it was long and drawn out, or did I want it to stop? enough - but it did continue, as did the suffering in reality.
Loved this book. The characters are done so well I felt like I knew them. Lots of history steeped into this as well. I thought I had it figured out towards the end but got thrown a surprise. I wont spoil it for you. Great Listen worth the credit!
ELLE aka PlantCrone of the Great Pacific Northwest. I enjoy almost every genre-S/F, Action, Biographies and Histories & Romance
I've read or listened to Jodi Picoult's books since her first novel was published. Sadly the past several have not been up to the first ones. "The Storyteller" is a big jump back to good writing.
Because I've listened to many of her stories I'm quite used to the variety of narrators and, as usual, I think this system of narrating greatly adds to the story.
Not a 5 star, but a good solid 4 star listen I highly recommend.
a moral tale critical to explore
beyond what is simply a tale of right and wrong
"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.
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.
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.
"Intense and touching"
I will certainly listen to The Storyteller again as I loved the plot and the characters. I couldn't stop listening to it. It was my first audio book and it made me hungry for more!
I liked the different story lines that connect at the end.
I liked the story of the grandmother very much, very touching. It made me realize once more what a hell concentration camps must have been.
Forgiveness : the bread of life?
The only thing I didn't like was Josef's German accent, it didn't ring true.
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