Sunday, 10 March 2013

The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult (2013)

5 stars

Yay! New Picoult book! I am constantly waiting for her next book. I was not the greatest fan of her previous novel Lone Wolf, but The Storyteller is definitely my second favourite (after my beloved Handle with Care.) I couldn't put this down.  I was waiting for my breaks at work just so I could get a few chapters in. The majority of the book is recounts of two characters experiences during the Holocaust. These sections cleverly show how Jews were ostracised and how they were treated with increasing horror. I'm no expert, but I know a little about WW2 and I could find no faults or discrepancies within the writing. It is carefully researched and I feel the combination of fact and fiction was very well done especially considering the sensitive subject matter.

I would definitely recommend this. It's one of her best and I am really impressed with how well she managed to breach this topic. My favourite character was Minka. I loved hearing her recount how she managed to find joy in her misery and managed to fight her way out and build a new life after all she had been through.

Sage is a baker who uses her job to hide from the world. She has abandoned her Jewish faith and is very close to her grandmother, Minka, who is a Holocaust survivor. Sage befriends a customer from the bakery, Josef Weber - a beloved retired German teacher and Little League coach. He confesses to Sage that his real name is Reiner and he is a former member of the SS and asks her to kill him. Sage contacts Leo, who is an FBI agent specialising in tracking down Nazis. Leo and Sage talk to Minka and manage to get her to tell her story. Her story crosses over with Reiner's. Reiner was a particularly cruel guard, who oversaw the female bunks in Auschwitz where Minka was. His brother, Franz, was in charge of finance and was more sympathetic to the plight of the Jews and hired Minka as his secretary. Reiner falls ill and is in the hospital for a few days. Minka dies in her sleep and the crucial evidence dies with her. Sage picks up Reiner from the hospital and gets him to confess while she records it, but then she decides to help him die and gives him a poisoned baked good. She then sees the hospital bracelet on his wrist with a different blood type on it than the one in Reiner's file - Sage realises that she has killed Franz not Reiner.

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