LEAVING TIME book tour!
Larger Than Life
Set in the wilds of Africa, “Larger Than Life” introduces Alice, the unforgettable character at the center of LEAVING TIME, which goes on-sale in the US, Canada, and Australia on October 14th (4th November in the UK). Now available exclusively as an eBook.
A researcher studying memory in elephants, Alice is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf—the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat—while following an important rule: She must only observe and never interfere. Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Thinking back on her own childhood, and on her shifting relationship with her mother, Alice risks her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love.
Larger Than Life is $1.99 in the US & Canada, £1.49 in the UK, and $1.99 in Australia!
Buy the eBook from your favorite retailer!
WHERE THERE'S SMOKE
Introducing Serenity Jones and a new FREE eShort, Where There's Smoke.
Meet Serenity Jones -- one of the three narrators in LEAVING TIME, my upcoming October 2014 novel.
Even as a child, Serenity Jones knew she possessed unusual psychic gifts. Now, decades later, she’s an acclaimed medium and host of her own widely viewed TV show, where she delivers messages to the living from loved ones who have passed. Lately, though, her efforts to boost ratings and garner fame have compromised her clairvoyant instincts. When Serenity books a young war widow to appear as a guest, the episode quickly unravels, stirring up troubling controversy. And as she tries to undo the damage—to both her reputation and her show—Serenity finds that pride comes at a high price.
Take a look at Jodi’s 2013 book, The Storyteller – #1 on the New York Times list!, and #1 in the UK and Australia. Sage Singer befriends an old man who's particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone's favorite retired teacher and Little League coach and they strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret - he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor. What do you do when evil lives next door?
Thank you to all my readers who made THE STORYTELLER #1 in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, NZ, and South Africa!
Jodi tells the story behind THE STORYTELLER - CNN radio interview (31:46)
What others are saying about The Storyteller…
“This is a powerful and riveting, sometimes gut-wrenching, read, in which the always compelling Picoult brings a fresh perspective to an oft-explored topic.”
“Picoult is no stranger to tackling difficult issues. Her latest page-turner confronts the oft-explored subject of the Holocaust with skill, starkness, and tremendous sensitivity. The characters’ stories are compelling, but the stellar storyteller here is Picoult, who braids the quartet of intersecting tales into a powerful allegory of loss, forgiveness, and the ultimate humanity of us all. Her myriad fans are in for satisfying doses of everything they’ve come to expect from her: compulsive readability, impeccable research, and a gut-wrenching Aha! of an ending.”
— STARRED REVIEW, Library Journal
My 2012 novel, LONE WOLF, looks at the intersection between medical science and moral choices.
Lone Wolf raises three thought-provoking questions:
- If we can keep people who have no hope for recovery alive artificially, should they also be allowed to die artificially?
- Does the potential to save someone else’s life with a donated organ balance the act of hastening another’s death?
- When a father’s life hangs in the balance, which sibling should get to decide his fate?
What others are saying about Lone Wolf…
“Picoult returns with two provocative questions: can a human join a wolf pack, and who has the right to make end-of-life decisions? ... Picoult as usual probes intriguing matters of the heart while introducing her fans to subjects they might not otherwise explore. You can always count on Picoult for a terrific page-turner about a compelling subject.”
— Publishers Weekly
“Picoult’s impressive research into wolf biology, hierarchy and pack mentality ultimately forms a plausible and highly informative story. …. Picoult portrays the human world and its petty paperwork as significantly less dignified (then wolves). This is a heartbreaking story told in engaging prose.”
— IMAGE Magazine…
Between the Lines
The paperback of Between the Lines is coming in May 2013.
LIVING COLOR: Ruth, an African-American nurse, has worked at a CT hospital for nearly twenty years as a labor and delivery nurse. So when a young couple, Turk and Brittany, come into the hospital to have their baby, it is business as usual -- until Turk calls in Ruth's white supervisor after the birth. He says, "I don't want her or anyone like her to touch my boy," and pulls up his sleeve to reveal a swastika tattoo: he and his wife are Skinheads. The hospital is used to making patient requests -- they have women who request female OBs, and others who don't want be cared for by a resident. So a note is placed on the baby's file and all African-American staff are exempted from caring from that patient -- meaning Ruth, who is the only Black nurse on the ward. The baby is taken to the nursery a day after its birth so circumcision can be done. However, Ruth's nursing colleague is called away on an emergency C section and Ruth is the only person in the nursery when the baby has cardiac/respiratory failure. After a brief hesitation – she intervenes – and yet, the baby dies. Not long after that, Ruth learns she has been charged with negligent homicide by the state.
Ruth's attorney is a white woman -Kennedy McQuarrie- who would not consider herself a racist by any means. Like Ruth, she has a child. But unlike Ruth, her family has never had to think about race on a daily basis. In spite of the evidence and the request of a Skinhead barring Ruth from doing her job, Kennedy knows she won’t talk about race in court, because she’d run the risk of polarizing the jury or the judge and losing the case. But to Ruth, that’s not justice.
As the two women form an alliance, and then an unlikely friendship, Kennedy begins to see that racism isn’t just about intent, but power. That even if Skinheads like Turk did not exist, Ruth would still be fighting an uphill battle. And she begins to seek a way to make a predominantly white jury see that they are responsible for the house they did not build…but in which they live.
Read an excerpt
The miracle happened on West 74th Street, in the home where my mother worked. It was a big brownstone encircled by a wrought-iron gate, and on either side of the ornate door were gargoyles, their granite faces carved from my nightmares. They terrified me, so I didn’t mind the fact that we never entered through the front, but rather through a less-impressive side door, whose keys my mother kept on a ribbon in her purse.
My mother had been working for Sam Hall and his family since before my sister and I were born. You may not have recognized the name Sam Hall, but you would have known him the minute he said hello. He had been the unmistakable voice in the mid-1960s who announced before every show: The following program is brought to you in living color on NBC! Now, he was the network’s head of programming. The doorbell beneath those gargoyles was the famously pitched three-note chime everyone associates with NBC. Sometimes, when I came to work with my mother, I’d sneak out and push the button and hum along.
The only reason we were with my mother was because it was a snow day, which meant Rachel and I didn’t have school. Unlike other kids, we didn’t get to sleep late, because we were too little to stay alone in our apartment while our mother went to work – which she did, through snow and sleet and probably also earthquakes and Armageddon. She muttered, stuffing us into our snowsuits and boots, that it didn’t matter if she had to cross a blizzard to do it, but God forbid Miss Mina had to spread the peanut butter on her own sandwich bread or open a can of soup. In fact the only time I remember my mother taking time off work was 25 years later, when she had a double hip replacement, generously paid for by the Halls. She stayed home for a week, and even after that when it didn’t quite heal right and she insisted on returning to work, Mina found her tasks to do that kept her off her feet. But when I was little, during school vacations and bouts of fever and snow days like this one, my mother would take us with her on the B train downtown.
Mr. Hall was away in California that week, which happened often, and which meant that Ms. Mina and Christine needed my mother even more. So did Rachel and I, but we were better at taking care of ourselves, I suppose, than Ms. Mina was.
When we finally emerged at 72nd Street, the world was white. It was not just that Central Park was caught in a snow globe. The faces of the men and women shuddering through the storm to get to work looked nothing like mine, or like my cousins or neighbors. I had not been into any Manhattan homes except for the Halls, so I didn’t know how extraordinary it was for one family to live, alone, in this huge building. But I remember thinking it made no sense that Rachel and I had to put our snowsuits and boots into the tiny cramped closet in the kitchen, when there were plenty of empty hooks and open spaces in the main entry where Christine and Ms. Mina’s coats were hanging. I waited for my mother to move through the dark rooms like Tinkerbell, alighting on a switch or a handle or a knob so that the sleeping beast of a house was gradually brought to life. “You two be quiet,” my mother told us, “and I’ll make you some of Miss Mina’s hot chocolate.”
It was imported from Paris, and it tasted like heaven. So as my mother tied on her white apron, I took a piece of paper from a kitchen drawer and a packet of crayons I’d brought from home and silently started to sketch. I made a house as big as this one. I put a family inside: me, Mama, Rachel. I tried to draw snow, but I couldn’t. The flakes I’d made with the white crayon were invisible on the paper. The only way to see them was to tilt the paper sideways toward the chandelier light, and so I make out the shimmer where the crayon had been, like a trail of tears.
“Can we play with Christine?” Rachel asked. Christine was six, falling neatly between the ages of Rachel and me. Christine had the biggest bedroom I had ever seen and more toys than anyone I knew. When she was home and we came to work with our mother, we played school with her teddy bears, drank water out of real miniature china tea cups, and braided the hair of her dolls. Unless she had a friend over, in which case we stayed in the kitchen and colored.
But before my mother could answer, there was a scream so piercing and so ragged that it stabbed me in the chest. I knew it did the same to my mother, because she dropped the pot of water she was carrying to the sink. “Stay here,” she said, her voice already trailing behind her as she ran upstairs.
Rachel was the first one out of her chair; she wasn’t one to follow instructions. I was drawn in her wake, a balloon tied to her wrist. My hand skimmed over the bannister of the curved staircase, not touching.
Ms. Mina’s bedroom door was wide open, and she was twisting on the bed in a sinkhole of satin sheets. The round of her belly rose like a moon; the shining whites of her eyes made me think of merry-go-round horses, frozen in flight. “It’s too early, Lou,” she gasped.
“Tell that to this baby,” my mother replied. Ms. Mina held her hand in a death grip. “You stop pushing, now,” she said. “The ambulance’ll be here any minute.”
But even I wondered how fast an ambulance could get here in all that snow.
It wasn’t until I heard Christine’s voice that I realized the noise had woken her up. She stood between Rachel and me. “You three, go to Miss Christine’s room,” my mother ordered. “Now.”
When my mother talked like that, with steel in her voice, not even Rachel disobeyed. Except, this time, she did. And so did Christine and I. We remained rooted to the spot as my mother quickly forgot about us, lost in a world made of Ms. Mina’s pain and fear, trying to be the map to lead her out of it. I watched the cords stand out on Ms. Mina’s neck as she groaned; I saw my mother kneel on the bed between her legs and push her gown over her knees. I watched the pink lips between Ms. Mina’s legs purse and swell and part. There was the round knob of a head, a knot of shoulder, a gush of fluid, and suddenly, a baby was cradled in my mother’s palms.
“Look at you,” she said, with love written into her face like a secret message. “Weren’t you in a hurry to get into this world.”
Two things happened at once: the doorbell rang, and Christine started to cry. “Oh, honey,” Ms. Mina crooned, not scary anymore but still sweaty and red-faced. She held out her hand, but Christine was too terrified by what she had seen, and instead she burrowed closer to me. Rachel, ever practical, went to answer the front door. She returned with two paramedics, who swooped in and took over, so that what my mother had done for Ms. Mina became like everything else she did for the Halls: seamless and invisible.
The Halls named the baby Henry Louis, after my mother. He was fine, even though he was almost a full month early, a casualty of the barometric pressure dropping with the storm that caused a PROM –a premature rupture of membranes. Of course, I didn’t know that back then. I only knew that on a snowy day in Manhattan I had seen the very start of someone. I’d been with that baby before anyone or anything in this world had a chance to disappoint him.
The experience of watching Henry being born affected us all differently. Christine never had children. Rachel had seven, with three different men. Me, I became an L-and-D nurse. When people hear this story, they assume the miracle I am referring to during that long-ago blizzard was the birth of a baby. True, that was astonishing. But that day I witnessed a more extraordinary wonder. As Christine held my hand and Ms. Mina held my mother’s, there was a moment - one heartbeat, one breath - where all the differences in schooling and money and skin color evaporated like mirages in a desert. Where everyone was equal, and it was just one woman, helping another.
That miracle, I’ve spent 39 years waiting to see again.