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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Storyteller
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on 30 May 2014
Judy Picoult certainly excels at storytelling in part2 of this novel - here Minka tells the heartbreaking story of her life in ghettos and nazi extermination camps for Jews. But she adds 'If you lived through it you already know that there are no words that could even come close to describing it.' It was so well written I found it emotionally stressful to read, and cried at the end of Minka's story. She says 'Sometimes all it takes to become a human being again is someone who can see you that way, no matter how you present on the surface', which makes you realise that the Jews were treated so inhumanly that they appeared to forget they were human.

As found in the author's other novels, aspects of moral dilemmas were woven in to this novel. She also throws light on what it might take to make someone inflict these horrendous crimes on others. She compares and contrasts two German brothers to illustrate this. She also adds 'It turns out the more you repeat an action, now matter how reprehensible it is, the more you can make an excuse for it in your own mind'. The relationship between the brothers is also reflected in a fantasy story Minka created when she young. This story shown in italics is introduced before Minka's life story, and at first it was hard to understand why it was in the novel; however later we discover that Minka being a 'storyteller' is an important aspect to her survival.

The novel starts in the present day with Minka's grand daughter who has her own emotional issues and her own dilemma relating to someone else who has also been through the war. Different chapters are written from different characters prospectives so don't forget to check at the top from who's prospective it is.
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on 8 January 2014
It is not unusual to find it hard to put down a book by Jodi Picoult. she has a turn of writing that makes a story come alive and out of all her books this is most evident in her latest - the storyteller!!

lush with history and difficult to read sections of times at Auschwitz, she creates a character that you abhorrent for the monster he was, and one you are reluctant to believe as the gentle soul he is today. you grow to love the scarred girl who hides her ugly face from the world, and wish along with other characters that she would only realise that beauty is not only on the outside!!

As a with Jodi, there is a twist at the end - looking back, I should have seen it coming but hindsight is a great gift.

if you read only one book this year, make it the Storyteller... for inexplicable reasons, I sit have tears trickling my eyes even though I am finished reading!!#
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 5 September 2013
Our book club choice this month, one taken most seriously by all. At first we thought OK, JP writes middle class family dramas, good reading but not the meat and drink of much discussion, but this time she has widened her reach and enveloped a whole period of atrocity, a subject bigger than anything she has tackled before, resolutely gathering up the scraps, semi -clichés and now sadly familiar personal accounts of the Holocaust, fashioning coincidences that truly couldn't have all happened to one person, but never mind, this is a theme that has to be kept alive.

We talked long and thoughtfully, as there is much to mull over. Skilfully 'The Storyteller' presents a sympathetic, modern slant on a terrible, immensely important, unforgettable chapter of history. An elderly survivor of the Final Solution, Minka is easy to empathise with, we get to know her so well. Sage Singer, her scarred granddaughter with attitude less so. Josef Weber, a complex, tormented, suicidal wreck of a former SS officer needs forgiveness through retribution and offers himself as sacrifice, to be used as a device for revenge by a persecuted people. Weaving these heavyweight, dreadful themes together into something that keeps you reading and caring deeply takes highly developed skill, a balance and an overview that very few could achieve.

Keeping the subject of the people who were taken to and those who ran the concentration camps to the fore, 'The Storyteller' would also work well as a way in to Holocaust history for young adults; each generation maybe needing a different approach to understanding how it could ever have happened. The unusual use of a vampire story section, Minka's girlhood fantasy book, although an unexpected ingredient for such a subject will perhaps help its appeal to newly maturing readers. The cliff hangers between each chapter carry the three sections of the whole, linking the sections intelligently.

Bound together with bread and bakery bits where Sage reigns as Queen of the Night Kitchen, which do go on a little too much despite their links to the backbone of the book, Jodi P has written a rich and important tale, still offering the moral dilemmas she excels at and making use of a scholarly amount of research to boot. This very grown up theme, no longer centring on an individual family crisis, allows her to weave a multi-layered tale with tender skill. As always she picks her battle and again captures the mood tightly in a net of prose.

Here we have a whole new way of presenting the past in a very worthwhile way. As to the family drama - well what responsibility does one brother have to/for another? This is bang in the middle of the narrative and will be a key discussion point. Also - what happens next? Almost the cue for another tome.
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on 13 August 2017
I've read a lot of books about the holocaust and every book leaves me in tears, this one however had me sobbing at the half way point. Jodi Picoult has a way of making you feel empathy for every single character, she draws you in completely and doesn't let you go until the last word. Very well researched, a good book club read as there is so much to discuss. A very good book on a very sad subject.
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on 15 October 2017
Beautifully written. Tells the story of a modern day girl with a lot of issues then goes back to interweave the plot with her grandmother and an ss guard during the war. Very harrowing descriptions of life for Jews in the ghettos and the camps. I had to stop reading at times and found myself in tears on the tube, but well worth reading if you’re not too sensitive
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on 10 March 2017
Amazing story of two lives, a grand daughter and her grandmother. And another more gruesome story, which is told by the grandmother. They all connect, and come together in a modern day holocaust story. A difficult read, particularly if you are a Jew. But worth the trauma eventually. The story revolves around human tragedy and forgiveness.
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on 28 November 2013
This has to be her best and most important work yet; a captivating, potent, stunning, shocking and yet beautiful, warm and heartening exploration of the darkness and light in humanity, within the context of the holocaust, and afterwards.

I had no idea about the storyline when I uploaded this title on an Amazon Kindle deal and, to be honest, have found Jodie Picould books have got a bit 'samey' over the years, so wasn't expecting to be blown away. How wrong I was! Prepare to be blasted to pieces in the reading of this, then stitched back together by the thread of courage and love which weaves through the story in a forthright, rather than sentimental way.

A hugely important, astonishing, riveting, illuminating and thought-provoking read. Buy it now, right away, everybody!
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on 24 July 2017
The book came in great condition as expected, and within the stated delivery time. It came unmarked, uncreased and in great condition. Packaging was secure and sensible. The book itself is an incredible read! The author delivered an incredibly emotionally rewarding journey with her characters, and her research and how she spoke personally to victims and survivors of the holocaust shows beautifully through her work. If you are on the edge about whether or not to buy this book then please do! It truly is incredible.
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on 10 May 2017
I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this book you can begin to picture what it must of been like to live through what the characters lived through what a horrible time for them. It is a very educational book and very well written I found it hard to put it down . An excellent read
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on 2 August 2017
A story written with a historical background which I found unable to put down. A great read which was all immersing and took you right back to the lives of minka and her family and the horrors they faced during the second world war. Flitting between historical accounts and the present day it kept me on the edge of my seat.
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