Monday, February 18, 2013
The Storyteller, by Antonia Michaelis, is a novel for young adults originally published in German. The English translation was chosen as a BPYC book club pick for February.
The story revolves around two 17 year olds. The privileged and brainy Anna, from a good home, with two loving parents, and Abel, a troubled soul doing his best to look after his six-year-old sister without the support of either a mother or a father. 'Mature content' seems a euphemism for a murder story that includes rape, prostitution, and paedophelia in the lives of two high school students.
A quick search at imdb doesn't indicate the romantic thriller is optioned yet for a movie - if it isn't yet, it should be. A bit too threatening for middle America, though, as some of the parental book reviews note, Anna calls her parents by their first names and drinks with their permission. Shocking!
The story kept me guessing almost right up to the end. I couldn't help hoping for a happy ending for Abel, but it wasn't offered. I suppose if it had been, it would have felt like a cheap trick.
Leonard Cohen's songs and lyrics are pivotal to the plot. I was happy to see the poet's work referenced in another language and to another generation. Proof of his international influence.
The plot unfolds over the winter months and the author made me appreciate snow again, and how beautiful it can be to sit in a winter garden, or lay on your back in a field of ice to gaze up at a night sky filled with stars.
Here's a great review at the Readventurer.