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and life along the winding road

Friday, August 9, 2013

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult tackles controversial and difficult subjects in her novels and The Storyteller is no exception. There are several narrators that bind the story together: A young Jewish girl whose grief and scars make her choose a solitary job as a baker, working through the night with little interaction with others; A caring man whom people have grown to like and whom they feel sorry for after his wife passes, but he also has scars of a different kind. Interspersed are stories of the past and of Germany where German soldiers are feared and Jews disappear.

Inspired by Simon Wiesenthal's book The Sunflower, Jodi Picoult delved into her emotionally grueling research for her book The Storyteller. You can read more about her research and reasons for writing the book here.

My thoughts:
Jodi Picoult is an amazing writer, she sets the stage well and not only lets the reader envision the surroundings, but also the smells and emotions in each of her stories. But this one I found difficult to read, not because of the writing but because of the content. She met with many holocaust survivors and has recounted some of their stories using a fictional character. The descriptions of heinous acts were detailed and gruesome and although I appreciated that these all added to our understanding of the characters, it was very hard to read without feeling a range of disturbing emotions. To be honest I stopped reading, three quarters of the way through the book.


Carole Anne Carr said...

Yes, Ann, had a similar experience with The Woman in Black by Susan Hill, had to leave it.

Joanne said...

this sounds like a great book and indeed, I think, Ms.Piccoult is a talented writer. She brings her characters to life. I've always been fascinated by the Holocaust - just the strength and depth of character of the survivors. I shall check this one out, however tough the subject matter.

Beatnik Mary said...

As a fellow book blogger I'm sure that, like me, you read a lot of new releases or advanced releases of books. I don't know about you, but I found that from 2011-13 I read a TONNE of books that took place in or were about WWII. Is that just me? I mean, I'm sure there are a lot of WWII books written every year, but for a year or two it seemed like every second book I picked up was either about someone who had survived the war, died in the war, travelled because of the war, etc. After a while I got a bit of "sadness burnout" if that makes sense.

Tiffany Norris said...

I love Jodi Picoult, but this one does sound even heavier than her usual! Good to know going into it.