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The Storyteller Hardcover – February 26, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books; 1st Printing edition (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439102767
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439102763
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4,089 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Best-seller Picoult takes on a heavy subject in her latest outing: the Holocaust. At 25, Sage Singer is scarred, both physically and mentally, by the car accident that took her mother’s life. A baker who works at night in a New Hampshire shop run by a former nun, Sage shuns almost all human contact, save for her coworkers and her funeral-director boyfriend, Adam, who is married to another woman. Sage ventures out of her comfort zone to befriend Josef Weber, an elderly retired teacher, who throws her world into chaos when he tells her that he’s a former SS officer and asks her to help him end his life. Sage, whose grandmother Minka survived the Holocaust, reaches out to the Department of Justice and is connected with Leo Stein, a charismatic attorney and Nazi hunter. Leo travels to New Hampshire to investigate Sage’s claims, which leads them to Minka, who shares a surprising connection to Josef. Based on extensive research, this is a powerful and riveting, sometimes gut-wrenching, read, in which the always compelling Picoult brings a fresh perspective to an oft-explored topic. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Picoult will tour widely with this bold moral inquiry, connecting with book clubs and making television, radio, and online appearances. --Kristine Huntley


The first person accounts about what happened in the Holocaust are absolutely harrowing ... there are descriptive passages that make you catch your breath Sunday Express Jodi Picoult's new book will leave you thinking about its story for a long time ... it is an emotional and compelling tale Sun If you think you know Jodi Picoult, her latest novel will make you think again ... a powerful and unexpected climax Good Housekeeping Another great read Cosmopolitan A beautifully woven story ... the humour and characters wrap themselves around you, daring you to stop reading My Weekly Simply stunning Image magazine A very humanist affirmation of the power of stories to allow people to move forward, even if they should never forget The Lady Themes of guilt, forgiveness and justice predominate and are sharpened by the belief that forgiveness can only be asked for, and given, by those who have been harmed WI Life I will start by saying that it is very difficult for me to review this book - I often find it difficult to review my favourite books as I find it hard to truly express how much I enjoyed them. From the first page, I knew that THE STORYTELLER would become one of my all time favourites. Jodi Picoult is definitely a favourite author of mine, yet she still manages to blow me away every single time I pick up one of her books. This one was no different Steppingoutofthepage Never has a work of fiction seemed so realistic to me, all of the different stories magnificently intertwined to create a book which is truly on a new level. There are certain books that leave you bereft knowing that there is no more story to tell and this is one of them. -- Amy Waterstones Beautifully written, compelling fiction. I couldn't put it down. I'm now bereft! -- Ros Burway Books, Shropshire Picoult back to her best ... hard to put down. This book lingers with you after you've finished ... It has compassion, anger, and a small touch of happily ever after that doesn't destroy the realism of the main events. If you can stomach a story based in the horrors of Nazi concentration camps then read THE STORYTELLER. It's worth the time you'll spend lost in its pages. -- Sarah Talbot, bookseller Impossible to put down ... This is a story that not only pulls at your heart strings but thrusts you into a world of fantasy and monsters, in the most real sense -- Katy Waterstones Chatham I've read most of Jodi Picoult's novels and this has to be one of the best. -- Emma Bedford Waterstones Never afraid of the big themes, Picoult's book is all about guilt, redemption and being true to oneself Choice magazine A romance-cum-issues-based page-turner dealing in history, its evils and the possibility of forgiveness and transformation, this is as harrowing as it is readable with powerful scenes in Auschwitz. Independent Picoult is an expert at keeping you turning the pages The Lady The tone is sombre, but this meticulously researched novel is well worth the effort Woman --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

More About the Author

I grew up on Long Island with my parents and my little brother, the product of a ridiculously happy childhood. My mom says I've been writing as long as she remembers - my first masterpiece was "The Lobster That Was Misunderstood," at age 5. I honed my writing skills beyond that, one hopes, before I headed off to Princeton, where I wanted to work with living, breathing authors in their creative writing program. Mary Morris was my teacher/mentor, and I really do believe I wouldn't be where I am today if not for her guidance and expertise. I had two short stories published in SEVENTEEN magazine when I was in college. However, when I graduated, a desire to not eat ramen noodles exclusively and to be able to pay my rent led me to take a job on Wall Street (not a great idea, since I can't even balance my checkbook). When the stock market crashed in 1987, I moved to Massachusetts and over the course of two years, worked at a textbook publishing company, taught creative writing at a private school, became an ad copywriter, got a master's in education at Harvard, got married, taught at a public school, and had a baby. My first novel was published shortly after my son was born, and I've always said that the reason I kept writing is because it's so much easier than teaching English.

In fourteen years, I've published thirteen novels: Songs of the Humpback Whale, Harvesting the Heart, Picture Perfect, Mercy, The Pact, Keeping Faith, Plain Truth, Salem Falls, Perfect Match, Second Glance, My Sister's Keeper, Vanishing Acts, and the upcoming The Tenth Circle, this March. Two of my books (Plain Truth and The Pact) were made into Lifetime TV movies; Keeping Faith will be another. My Sister's Keeper is in development at New Line Cinema to be a feature film. And there isn't a single day that I don't stop and marvel at the fact that when I go to work, I get to do what I love the most.

My husband Tim and I live in Hanover, NH with our three kids, a dog, a rabbit, and the occasional donkey or cow.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

196 of 214 people found the following review helpful By bella2010 on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Picoult, once again, tackles difficult subject matter--the Holocaust, as seen from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor, her granddaughter and a former German SS guard. Those familiar with Picoult's work will find what they've come to expect in terms of the novel's structure: a narrative told from several points of view and a legal perspective. As always, Picoult did her research, and her historical accuracy is thorough. In "the Storyteller" Picoult examines the impact of the holocaust in present day society, as survivors left to tell their stories are now scarce and their relevance is lost on some. In an early scene, an unworldly blind date scoffs at the thought of "a war that happened 70 years ago" in a dismissive tone.

Sage Singer, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor, spends her nights baking and her days quietly living out her life in a small New England town. Her grandmother never speaks of her time in Poland during WWII, and Sage herself is a non practicing Jew. She does not give much thought to her grandmother's past or her own heritage until she befriends an elderly gentleman from her grief group. As Sage and Josef become closer and his long buried past as a German SS guard is discussed with Sage, forgiveness, retribution and ultimately redemption surface.

To say more about how "the Storyteller" unfolds and whether forgiveness can be granted in such a situation, would be to reveal too much of the plot. Instead, I'd advise you to grab a copy of this book and settle in for few days of reading. You will walk away with a heavy heart, and some questions of your own.
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166 of 197 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Sobocinski on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This was the first book I read by this author, and I am amazed by the quality of her writing skills! She is a wonderful Author, and is not afraid to write about what she feels like writing. She approaches these questionable and controversial subjects with caution and correctly, and Picoult does it so well. I read this book surprisingly quickly which I feel that I need to go back and re-read it to get more detail from the book.

The story is all about the deepest of secrets that were never told to anyone. This story goes deep into issues, and it gets in deep very fast. The plot really gets you into the book. The main topic of the book is can people be forgiven for extremely dark acts. The plot of the story has twists and turns, choices made, and a twist that will really get you further into the book. When reading the book i suggest putting yourself in Sage's place and think what you would have done differently or if you could have done it.

Truly a great book, and I will be looking back at some of the other stories Jodi Picoult has written. I really enjoyed her writing, and look forward to anymore books she comes out with.

Great job Author and yes I would recommend this book.
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160 of 191 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Picoult has never flinched back from the most difficult of topics. Her books heads directly into controversy which are backed with meticulous scholarship. In "The Story Teller", Sage has been asked to forgive a recent friend for his past as a Nazi. And he wants her to kill him. Sage is Jewish, descended from victims of the camps. She lives quietly with her own secrets and with her scar which she considers disfiguring. She rarely lets people inside her mental walls.

The story is narrated by Sage, by the secret Nazi, and by a mysterious girl living in the forest afraid of great evil. Sage's granmother finally consents to add her own narrative.As you would expect, the writing is accessible and flows evenly. The plot draws us in immediately. The conundrums are complex and insistent. As Picoult notes, "this could be you , too. You think, not I. But at any given moment, we are capable of doing what we least expect." Is this true? I wish I could swear that it is not. But as the survivors and victims of the Holocaust approach death and disappear, the question is a vital one that must be asked. Added to the Holocaust deniers who claim the camps were never true, this is a topic that is imperative. Bearing witness is part of this book, how to mend the world is another.

It is easy to dismiss Picoult with her repetitive plot of a family and a narrator pressed heavily with moral decisions. She is a popular writer, the death knell for many critics. But I find her work compelling and I don't mind the repetitive structure. These characters are complex and beautifully drawn. We could pick Sage from a crowd, and not due to her scar. Rather her hiding of her scar makes her distinctive.
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149 of 195 people found the following review helpful By Mary Lavers on March 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I have only read two books by Jodi Picoult (the other one was Sing You Home) but based on these two I have come to some conclusions about her writing. First of all, her books are good, but in the way that Lifetime TV movies are good. They're intended to make you cry, and feel passionately about some issue or other for the couple of hours while you're watching, but they don't change your life and nobody's winning any awards over it. Jodi Picoult books are like Lifetime movies. She writes genre fiction in the genre of "I'm trying to make you cry by using tropes guaranteed to elicit emotion." Maybe I'm judging her too quickly based on just two books, but I really don't think so.

The Storyteller is a pat story. Everything fits together so neatly the reader doesn't have to do any work at all. The main character is Sage Singer (ugh! the name!), a twenty-five-year-old night baker with a scar on her face. The source of her scar is meant to be a big secret that is revealed later in the book but the "secret" is one you can see coming a mile away. She goes to grief counselling to deal with the loss of her parents, where she meets Josef, an elderly man who becomes one of her few friends.

In the introductory page at the beginning of the book, Picoult reveals that this book is based on another book in which a former Nazi asks a Jewish woman for forgiveness before he dies. So I don't think I'm ruining anything by saying that there are similar themes in this book. Sage is Jewish. Her grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. Josef is a German man in his nineties. He wants to die soon. Can you guess? I'm sure you can.

I realize that the book uses all the devices intended to get me to be emotionally invested but I just wasn't.
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