Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Messenger

I read The Book Thief two years ago, and really thought it was unique and powerful. So when I saw another book by Markus Zusak at the book shop, I snapped it up. Zusak wrote The Messenger before The Book Thief. It won the 2003 CBC Book of the Year Award (Older Readers) and the 2003 NSW Premier's Literary Award (Ethel Turner Prize), as well as receiving a Printz Honour in America.
   The Messenger probably hasn't been as popular as The Book Thief, because it doesn't have as much international appeal. It's topic does not focus on an international traumatic event on WWII. But, I think Zusak's writing is better in The Messenger - I think it's more subtle and possibly even more touching.

Blurb: Ed Kennedy - cab driving prodigy, pathetic card player, useless at sex - shares coffee with his dog and is in nervous-love with Audrey. His life is one of suburban routine and incompetence, until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

That's when the first ace turns up and Ed becomes the messenger. 
Chosen to care, he travels through town, helping and hurting, until only one question remains. Where are the messages coming from?

This is a novel "about glowing lights and small things that are big". It's about a Good Samaritan. It's about very normal Aussies. It's about one particularly normal young man who does some loverly things (small things that mean a lot) for other people. It's very spiritual. There are lots of messages: to be selfless in love, about the meaning and value of aspirations, and about the joy we can experience despite the difficulties we face in day-to-day life. It's a novel that can be hard and confronting, but it's a novel that is very funny and real.
   The narrative voice in this novel is so strong - it's a brilliant, real voice. His language is authentic, blunt, and sounds just like he's talking to us. It doesn't have too much flowery, emotional investigation. It just is.
   Please read it!
   P.S. Another novel for the 2012 Aussie Author Challenge.


  1. I agree...I think I loved this book more than Book Thief for all the reasons you have given...

    1. It's nice to hear others have read some of these great Australian novels that I'm picking up. I'm ashamed that I haven't focused on Australian novels in the past - there are so many great authors that I have to read.

  2. This is a novel "about glowing lights and small things that are big" - I love that! I gave The Book Thief 5 stars so it sounds like I really must read this title too.

    1. Yes! Please look out for it, or order it online - I think it's better than the Book Thief. Subtler, simpler, but more powerful.

  3. Loved the Book Thief but haven't read The Messenger yet. I'm participating in the Aussie Author Challenge too, and trying to visit another blog each time I post a review. I enjoyed your review, sounds like I might enjoy The Messenger as well.