Welcome to Weekly Wonder, our weekly treat for your TBRs.
This week’s Wonder is:
THE STORYTELLER BY JODI PICOULT
SO, WHAT’S UP WITH THE STORY?
Josef Weber is everybody’s “adoptive cuddly grandfather; a pillar of the community and favourite teacher and Little League coach. So when he asks the lonely baker, Sage Singer for forgiveness for his actions as an SS officer and for her help in his death, she is stuck in a moral dilemma. As she listens to Josef’s and her Holocaust survivor grandmother, Minka’s experiences in the same concentration camp, she must make a decision as to whether she can forgive and kill her best friend.
A GLIMPSE BETWEEN THE PAGES
“History isn’t about dates and places and wars. It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them.”
“Power isn’t about doing something terrible to someone who’s weaker than you, Reiner. It’s having the strength to do something terrible, and choosing not to.”
“That’s the paradox of loss: How can something that’s gone weigh us down so much?”
“Good people are good people; religion has nothing to do with it.”
“A story will tell itself when it’s ready.”
“The person may have a scar, but it also means they have a story”
“If you’ve lived through it, you already know there are no words that will ever come close to describing it, and if you didn’t – you will never understand.”
“What is the point of trying to put down on paper emotions that are too complex, too huge, too overwhelming to be confined by an alphabet?
Love isn’t the only word that fails.
Hate does, too.”
“The weapons an author has at her disposal are flawed. There are words that feel shapeless and overused. Love, for example. I could write the word love a thousand times and it would mean a thousand different things to different readers.”
WHAT I LOVE ABOUT IT
- The Storyteller consists of four different narratives; Sage’s story, Josef’s story, Minka’s story and a Gothic fairytale that Minka starts during her happy childhood and continues through her stay at the ghetto where her family is exiled and the concentration camp she finally ends up in.
- Minka’s fairytale is full of metaphors and references.
- The focus on baking and food as a glue that holds generations of a family together.
- Minka’s recipe for challah is available online.
- The entire story can be seen as a deliberation on morality and forgiveness.
- The title is a pun as there are multiple storytellers throughout the book.
- Unlike most Holocaust books, The Storyteller gives simultaneous and equal attention to the tale of both the victim and the Nazi.
- Minka’s story tells us the importance of knowing a language and being able to communicate with those around you.
- The reference to Scheherazade.
- The descriptions in the book are breathtakingly beautiful.
- The book is an attack on those groups who claim that the Holocaust never happened.
- One of the main themes is identity and it is explored in so many different ways.
- The final decision of Sage.
- The twist at the end that would be a surprise for some readers and would be predicted by others long before it is revealed. (Do let me know which one you are in the comments below.)
I hope you enjoy the book!