The Storyteller, Jodi Picoult
I have been a big fan of Jodi Picoult for years now. I have read all of her books and recommended them many times. Most of her books are in a similar vein: she approaches a controversial issue (like euthanasia, abortion, stigmata, gay parents rights, etc) in the context of a story, and narrates it from the viewpoints of different people involved. Her multi-voice narration is her greatest strength; you empathize with even her disagreeable characters. Almost always, she writes a twist into the last few pages of the book. The first of Jodi Picoult’s books I encountered hit my like a sucker-punch; I could hardly breathe when I finished it (My Sister’s Keeper.) But its all too easy for a format to become formulaic, and her last few books haven’t impressed me that much.
The Storyteller is far better than Jodi Picoult’s last two books, and may be my second favorite of her books. Among other things, it deals with issues of faith, assisted suicide and guilt/vengeance. Unusually for this author, the narrative voices range from present to past (during the Holocaust.) Sage is a loner who finds solace in baking, with occasional side trips to a Catholic shrine. Over time, one of her regulars approaches her with an unusual request. When she refuses, he tells her his past as an SS camp guard. In the end, you could say that Sage gives him what he asked for – but you are left wondering if it was what either of them really wanted.
You will like: other books by Jodi Piccoult, Night by Elie Wiesel