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The Storyteller Audio Download – Unabridged

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,977 customer reviews

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By Denise4891💁🏻 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 16 Mar. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've been a fan of Jodi Picoult's writing ever since I first read My Sister's Keeper back in 2005 (I think), but I have to admit that her most recent books haven't excited me in quite the same way and I was beginning to worry that her familiar format was running out of steam. However, her latest novel `The Storyteller' marks an exciting change of direction and I loved it.

Well perhaps `loved' is the wrong word to use given the subject matter, it's certainly a harrowing and shocking story at times. The first part of the novel centres on Sage Singer, a reclusive young woman who hides herself away from the world due to a disfiguring facial scar. Sage works nights in a bakery and, apart from minimal contact with her co-workers, her only other interaction with the outside world is through the grief counselling group she attends to help her come to terms with the death of her mother three years earlier. It's through this group that she meets Josef Weber, an elderly man of German extraction who inveigles his way into her life and chooses her as his confidant when he decides to unburden himself of a shocking secret which he has kept buried for 60 years.

Josef's revelation and the request he makes of her as a result cause Sage to examine her own conscience and look deep into her family history. What follows is the tale of one woman (her grandmother Minka) who was a survivor of the death camps at Auschwitz. The middle section of the book is devoted to Minka's story. I don't think it matters how many accounts of the holocaust one reads, fictional or real, the true horror of what went on is impossible to comprehend. Picoult certainly doesn't pull any punches which makes for difficult reading at times, but Minka's determination to survive make it utterly compelling.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a young child in the 1970's the Holocaust was still a huge talking point in the media, although I never remember it being discussed at school. As a former history teacher, I have read as much as I can on the subject, not from a mawkish point of view, but I have always felt that if you can pass the message along, then people may hopefully never repeat the lesson - considering the world we live in today it may be falling on deaf ears. I haven't read Jodi Picoult for a while, and I picked this up just as a bit of light reading, without noting the synopsis. I am sure that historical purists would shudder at this novel, but the heart behind it, and the intriguing tale that untangles itself, is hugely compelling. While the modern day stories of Sage, a damaged young woman who has lost her parents, and Leo, and FBI agent committed to hunting SS Nazis, it is the histories of Minka and Josef that unveil the most. Minka is a survivor of the Holocaust, and Sage's grandmother, and Josef, a former SS guard who lives out another life in the U.S. and befriends Sage at a grief counselling group. The Holocaust will always be such an emotive subject but Picoult brings some human touches that from our place in time we find hard to understand: Minka is protected by a senior SS guard in the ghetto where she lives, and yet is appalled by the behaviour of the Jewish elder in charge of overseeing the ghetto. Josef's story is horrific in parts, but it does in some way explain what on earth went through the minds of young men who went from teenagers to mass murderers in less than a decade. The book never shies away from what the Jewish people went through, but it is in the ordinary details of everyday living that capture the story and make it interesting. It is how people survived and went on to live again.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the first Jodi Picoult novel I've read. I got it mainly for the benefit of my wife, as a Picoult fan. However, she doesn't like the subject (she read Schindler's Ark, once only, and will never watch the film), and had to give up after 100 pages, so it was over to me. I found it slow going at first, but eventually I was hooked.

The novel consists of three stories interlinked in a complex manner. In the key middle section Ania, a survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen, tells her grand-daughter Sage of her experiences during the Holocaust. The start and end are mainly told by Sage, moving from her own demons to try to avenge the wrong done to Ania. Interpolated throughout are excerpts from the fable Ania wrote, before and during the war, about an "upior" [vampire], in which events gradually mirror with awful clarity the real life events of the main story.

The superbly crafted complexity is not limited to the structure. There is a lot of inter-related symbolism; for example, Sage's facial scar is not only a cause of her depression and self-inflicted loneliness, but also a metaphor for her guilt over her mother's death; the counterpoint is on her Ania's prison camp number tattoo, etched on her skin just as the horrors of the Holocaust are etched on her soul.

A recurrent theme is the impact of seeing people not as individuals but as faceless units of a group. This applies not only to the perception of the Jews by the Nazis, but in the other direction as well.

I wanted to know how it finished, but didn't want the book to end - always a good sign. There is an inspired, touching twist to end the story.
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