Monday, August 6, 2012

The Storyteller review

Goodreads: Anna and Abel couldn’t be more different. They are both seventeen and in their last year of school, but while Anna lives in a nice old town house and comes from a well-to-do family, Abel, the school drug dealer, lives in a big, prisonlike tower block at the edge of town. Anna is afraid of him until she realizes that he is caring for his six-year-old sister on his own. Fascinated, Anna follows the two and listens as Abel tells little Micha the story of a tiny queen assailed by dark forces. It’s a beautiful fairy tale that Anna comes to see has a basis in reality. Abel is in real danger of losing Micha to their abusive father and to his own inability to make ends meet. Anna gradually falls in love with Abel, but when his “enemies” begin to turn up dead, she fears she has fallen for a murderer. Has she?

Award-winning author Antonia Michaelis moves in a bold new direction with her latest novel: a dark, haunting, contemporary story that is part mystery, part romance, and part melodrama.

My thoughts: It’s been pretty hard to understand all the feelings I have for this book. The writing is fantastic, which seems to happen often when the author is not from the United States. And there was a story within a story, which should have made things difficult, but it actually made everything more appealing and exciting. Plus, I’m impressed that not only can this author write one story well, but two. The confusion as far as my feelings comes from all that happens in between all that wonderful writing. So many unthinkable things happen. Things I would have never imagined that left me with my jaw dropping to the ground. 

I actually feel like a passage from the YA book Anna and the French Kiss expresses how I had to look at this book. There’s a part in the book when a teacher is discussing the meaning of words in a book, and specifically talks about foreign books. The teacher says that “foreign novels are less action-oriented. They have a different pace; they’re more reflective. They challenge us to look for the story, find the story within the story.” This is exactly what I had to do, except I had to look for the story within the story within the story (within the story). And all those stories meshed together almost impeccably, but sometimes that meant heartbreaking moments were more… um… heartbreaking because something similar happened in both stories. It was gritty, and sometimes the characters did things I couldn’t believe happened. They did some things I didn’t agree with on a personal level that bothered me to the point that it once again made me reassess my feelings regarding the story. With that said, it’s unique, deep, and thought provoking (obviously since I’m still trying to figure some things out). And I’d actually be interested in seeing what others thought about this novel.

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