The Storyteller is a deeply personal novel whose story revolves around a grieving woman and her gradual realization of the depth of her family’s past. The main character, Sage, is a professional baker and introvert who has encountered increasing difficulty forging relationships, both romantic and friendly. She finally starts to open up to an elderly man who seemingly understands her, and becomes inspired to delve into her own story.
In talking with her grandmother, Sage finds out that her recently realized gift as a baker is a multi-generational trait that has a lot to do with the older woman’s survival from Auschwitz. As she learns of her grandmother’s gift for telling a story, Sage becomes both more in touch with her Jewish identity and more confident to move past all the now frivolous elements of her life.
My only gripe with the book is that (New Hampshire’s own!) Picoult uses slightly too much foreshadowing– for a few moments in the book, my suspended disbelief was broken, leaving me a bit disappointed with the ending. The author, however, will throw you right into the story artistically using multiple first-person accounts and beautiful language that lets you taste the cinnamon and chocolate in her bread, puts you right in the muck getting off the train, and brings out your own moral dilemmas as you relate to the complexity of the characters.
If you like Alice Hoffman’s writing you may really enjoy this book, and especially if you are a fan of Jodi Picoult’s other work. Both authors have the uncanny ability to effectively take the reader back in time and on an eye-opening adventure.
Best of all, The Storyteller is available for you at the Temple Israel Portsmouth library.