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.