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The Storyteller Hardcover – February 26, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 5,543 customer reviews

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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

About the Author

Jodi Picoult received an AB in creative writing from Princeton and a master’s degree in education from Harvard. The recipient of the 2003 New England Book Award for her entire body of work, she is the author of twenty-one novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers House Rules, Handle With Care, Change of Heart, and My Sister’s Keeper, for which she received the American Library Association’s Margaret Alexander Edwards Award. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children. Visit her website at JodiPicoult.com.

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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: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5,543 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #219,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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Format: Audible Audio Edition
How does one possibly rate this book? This is so much more than fiction. You exit this book a different person than you entered it. After reading it, I have such profound appreciation of the simplest things in life: a piece of bread, a grape, shoes, a coat. And I feel gratitude for the big things we often take for granted: security, family bonding, and a home.

This well-researched book sinks deep into the reader's heart. It is hard to read at times. Picoult has a way of allowing us to experience a story from all sides. I've read dozens of books on the Holocaust. All leave a scar...none quite as profound as this one. I had to put it down at times and take some deep gulps of air...knowing that the stories are not fully fictional make it hard to swallow, but oh-so-important to experience. Experiencing the Holocaust from the perspective of a Nazi officer was almost more than I could bear.

The story exists partly in the present and partly in the early 1940's at the time of the Holocaust. We are put into the shoes of a woman who survived Auschwitz (whose soul you will share -- I promise); an SS Officer who patrolled the concentration camp, a modern woman with a disfiguring scar who is the grand daughter of a Holocaust survivor....and more. This story is so beautifully and complexly woven, yet easy to follow and absolutely impossible to forget.

If it were not for the few light sex scenes (which I felt added to the book), this would make exceptional required reading for High School literature classes, as the discussions it would bring forth would be profound. It should become a college text....truly, this is a book from which we can learn many things.
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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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Format: Hardcover
NOTE: This review should be read all the way to the end!

I've read all but four of Jodi Picoult's 20 books, and faithfully anticipate the release date of her newest novel every year. This year, I even got to see her read at the Union Square Barnes and Noble. I can tell you that she's wonderfully entertaining, down-to-earth, humble...an all-around nice person. I will always support her in book dollars, no matter what I think of her latest.

Here, Picoult tackles Good and Evil, taking the most heinous historical event - the Holocaust - and humanizing it with characters whose lives are based on those of real people. Let this serve as a warning, everyone: I've read Holocaust books, scores of them, and I thought I knew what I was in for. I didn't. Because this is not just one person's life story - it's a culling together of many survivors' stories to form a narrative so horrific that reading it is almost masochistic.

I had to put my Nook down more than once because I just could not stomach the book. Though I kept coming back - sort of the way you inadvertently slow down at a car wreck - this is not a book to take away you. The parallel narratives of dehumanization and persecution - of Minka and Josef - of survivor and tormentor respectively - make this book doubly hard to take in. Unpalatable, Unconscionable, Unseemly - I can't even think of enough "Un"s to convey the sort of reading experience this is going to be.

But then again, if I've had such a strong reaction, it means Picoult did her job and did it well. There was nothing enjoyable about the Holocaust and we readers are not supposed to be having a dreamy, escapist experience reading about it.
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