The Storyteller

The Storyteller

A Novel

Book - 2013 | 1st Emily Bestler booksAtria books hardcover edition
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Some stories live forever . . .

Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day's breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother's death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage's grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can't, and they become companions.

Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shameful secret-one that nobody else in town would ever suspect-and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With her own identity suddenly challenged, and the integrity of the closest friend she's ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she's made about her life and her family. When does a moral choice become a moral imperative? And where does one draw the line between punishment and justice, forgiveness and mercy?

In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths we will go in order to protect our families and to keep the past from dictating the future.
Publisher: New York : Emily Bestler Books, 2013
Edition: 1st Emily Bestler booksAtria books hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781439102763
Branch Call Number: FIC Pico
Characteristics: 460 p


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Feb 12, 2021

Young Jewish woman Sage becomes friends with an old German man. He confesses that he was an SS officer in WW11. He wants her to help him die and he wants forgiveness. Story line is weak but descriptions of the camps and life there were amazing. Good writing

Feb 02, 2021

I knew from the beginning that Sage, introduced as a non believer Jew and Josef, who was obviously, a transparent character, a secret Nazi, given his being German and 90. The Holocaust scenarios were the most gripping, lest the public forgets or perhaps, never knew. It was a much better section than the thin story of Sage being a woman in conflict. The early Nazi parts are the only meaty parts to the story. It became apparent later on that Josef was actually the " sensitive" Nazi Franz.

Dec 28, 2020

on Carol's Goodread list

Aug 07, 2020

A surprise and an experience in examining who we think we are and who we think others are....

Mar 03, 2020

To be honest there are so many better books about this subject ~ The Tattooist of Auschwitz, for one. This book was not one of Jodi Picoult's best as I was previously so impressed with Small Great Things and A Spark of Light. I will try more of her oeuvre.

Dec 01, 2019

My first and last book by this author. So trite and stupid and unbelievable. A Jewish girl works in a bakery for a former Catholic nun and has an affair with her mother's undertaker. Does this grab anyone yet? She later meets an elderly man who is a former Nazi. Get the picture? The girl doesn't see anything wrong with cheating or anything else immoral she does. The ending is plain stupid. I wish I could have rated this a "zero".

Jul 03, 2019

Loved this book. It’s a heartbreaker. Rich and complex in thoughts and relationships and gives the harsh realities of the holocaust through various lenses. The twist comes as Jodi so often provides. No judgement, we all inject our own.

May 29, 2019

I liked this book, but it seemed so back and forth. Took a really long time to get to the ending - which can sometimes be enjoyable but this one seemed prolonged.

Aug 09, 2018

Read but want to read again.

Apr 05, 2017

When I discovered Jodi Picoult's novels, I read all but two (saving those two just so I'd have something to look forward to). Since then I've read a dozen novels from "What do I read while waiting for the next Jodi Picoult novel?" lists. While I enjoyed those other novels, none of them could hold my attention, make me care about ALL of the characters and how the events in the novel affected their lives, or make me think as deeply as Jodi Picoult's do. I thought it was just a phase I was going through, but I picked up "The Storyteller" and was once again blown away by how creatively her character's stories are woven together, how much I felt, cared about, and thought about how the events in the story affected their lives! How does she do that so effectively?
The ending was not what I thought it would be; it was much more complicated than anything I'd guessed at (except for the already predicted romance).
This would be a great book club choice. It provides plenty of grey areas to consider on topics that usually seem black and white.
My favorite quote from this book is, "Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'" We all have so many things to forgive in our own lives and in the lives of people whose actions affect us.

View All Comments


Add a Summary
siammarino Jul 01, 2014

Should Saige help an elderly Nazi to kill himself? Should the Nazi, who has since led an exemplary life, be pardoned for his crimes? How can Saige overcome her insecurity after the accident that left scars on her face? All good questions, but I didn't finish the book because Joseph's recounting of his Nazi days was just too much for me.

nkontrol May 01, 2013

A young woman is asked to do a huge favor and is told why she has to do it.


Add a Quote
Apr 05, 2017

"Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.'"

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at NWPL

To Top