I have mixed emotions about “The Storyteller”, where the premise was that a former Nazi officer confesses who he truly is to the granddaughter of a concentration camp survivor. The book was segregated into three sections, the first and third sections were narrated by different characters: Sage the granddaughter who is a disfigured baker, Joseph the Nazi officer, a Jewish girl writing a story, and the FBI agent dedicated to finding Nazis hiding in America. Sage was the main character, but she was so self-conscious about her facial scars that there wasn’t much else to her personality. By the end of the story, I had lost all interest in her. The portion of the novel that described how Joseph was forced to join the Nazis was an interesting perspective on a group of people history has made out to be emotionless.
Section two was the most page turning because it was narrated by Sage’s grandmother as she recounted being confined in a Jewish ghetto and then sent to several concentration camps. This portion seemed very accurate. But even with this great narrative, there was something superficial about the story as a whole. For such an interesting premise, the plot moved slowly and was a bit lengthy. I was fascinated to learn that this novel was prompted by actual events. Apparently, when a Nazi officer assigned to a concentration camp was dying, he requested that a Jewish man be brought to him so that he could be forgiven. The implications of seeking and obtaining forgiveness in this way really make one pause to consider the weight of forgiveness, and then begs the questions, would you grant forgiveness in that situation? I thought that the story within the story was too obvious in its attempt to set forth the position that there is both good and bad in every person.
Despite the interesting premise, I considered only about one-third of this novel to be worth reading.