The Storyteller, By Jodi Picoult
Hodder & Stoughton
Jodi Picoult is so successful that the novels she writes in her New Hampshire home probably boost the US economy. Typically her characters are ordinary Americans forced to cope with extraordinary situations. Through them Picoult examines contemporary issues such as the trauma of school shootings or the difficulties of living with a rare disease. In this novel she tackles a particularly painful issue: crimes committed by Germans against Jews during the Holocaust, and the continuing lack of justice for survivors in a world that cares less and less about their suffering. Sage is a self-obsessed young American who thinks the atrocities of the 1940s have nothing to do with her until she’s told secrets by a kindly neighbour and her own grandmother that she would prefer not to know. The contemporary US scenes are, unavoidably, far less powerful than those set during the Holocaust. This thought-provoking novel poses not only the usual questions about the Holocaust (what would you have done?) but also some that are more pointed (why don’t we value justice?).