The Short Story Of Mania Salinger's The Storyteller

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The Storyteller has four parallel stories. Sage is a brilliant baker who works at night, living a limited lonely life in a small town. She keeps a scar on her face hidden, is involved in a hopeless romantic affair, and is drawn to Josef, a beloved neighbourhood old timer who frequently visits the bakery. Minka grows up in Lodz and is forced into the ghetto with her family. Eventually she is sent on a transport to Auschwitz and we closely follow the impossible hardships she endures and ultimately survives. Franz and Reiner are two German brothers different as can be; one a serious sensitive student, the other a fighter; both end up in the SS. Meanwhile we read Minka’s fiction, chapters of a dark Gothic romance about a baker’s daughter and two demon brothers who terrorize a village.
Minka’s biography is compiled from multiple survivors, including various threads from Mania Salinger’s own memoir, Looking Back. Picoult says Mania reminds her of her own grandma. Salinger was eager to read The Storyteller as it was being written. She flew through the first section, but had to stop when it got to Auschwitz because it was too real. Picoult called that “heartbreaking praise.”
The descriptions of the Lodz Ghetto and Auschwitz are as horribly detailed and disturbing as read in other Holocaust books. A unique scene stands out in The Storyteller of a bride still wearing her white lace bridal dress arriving on a transport to Auschwitz, desperately looking for her family from whom she
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