***There is something very nostalgic for me about reading a Picoult novel and it’s a reading experience I always savour. Her writing is gorgeous and The Storyteller is no exception. In this she weaves the stories of Sage, Josef and Minka together beautifully, binding them with a dark and haunting fairytale. All of these combine to show the most horrendous, heartbreaking and touching aspects of human nature simultaneously. The Storyteller packs an emotional punch which left me feeling real grief for each and every one of the characters. It is a testament to Picoult’s amazing ability with words that she always, without fail, manages to reduce me to tears. She also makes me realise time and time again that nothing in this world is black and white, but a million shades of grey. I can’t think of another author who writes so beautifully and at the same time manages to explore every facet of an issue and every person and emotion involved. I just cannot tell you how much I adore Picoult’s writing. In terms of both storytelling and writing, Picoult is without a doubt one of the best. The Storyteller is part historical fiction; although this is seemingly a departure from Picoult’s style, it works beautifully and is one of my favourite elements of the book. I would love to see Picoult tackle more historical fiction because she does it so brilliantly. Not many authors can combine facts and personal stories so well; many historical fictions end up feeling like a school lesson, and a boring one at that. But, as Picoult herself says in the novel: “history isn’t about dates and places and wars. It’s about the people who fill the spaces between them”. And that is what makes The Storyteller so freaking amazing. Seeing these events unfold through Minka’s and Josef’s eyes is the reason this book is so affecting. If you’re a Picoult fan then I have no doubt you’ll enjoy this. If you’re yet to give her books a go, then this is perhaps one of the best to start with. The Storyteller has the same real heart of all her books, with characters which come to life on the page and an enthralling plot. Emotional, heartfelt and at times gut wrenchingly sad, The Storyteller is one book you must read this year. “I pulled word after word from my core, like silk for a spider’s web, spinning a make-believe life. That’s why we read fiction, isn’t it? To remind us that whatever we suffer, we’re not the only ones?” “Whether it was power they sought, or revenge, or love – well, those were all just different forms of hunger. The bigger the hole inside you, the more desperate you became to fill it.” “There is a reason the word history has, at its heart, the narrative of one’s life.”
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for providing a copy of the book for review.P.S. I also absolutely love the sneaky Beatles reference of “all you knead is love” in the bakery. Genius.