Friday, March 26, 2010

The Messenger by Markus Zusak

Title:  The Messenger
Author:  Markus Zusak
Genre:  General Fiction
Publisher:  Picador
Publication Date: 2009
Stand alone or series:  Stand Alone
Book Length:  399
First Lines: The gunman, is useless.  I know it.  He knows it.  The whole bank knows it.  Even my best mate Marvin knows it and he's more useless than the gunman.

Synopsis (From Angus & Robertson website)
THE MESSENGER is comedic, romantic, thrilling, confronting, playful, deceptive... While it shares qualities with Nick Hornby's HOW TO BE GOOD and Iain Softley's film K-PAX, it is cleverer, subtler and more profound than either and, as a bonus, determinedly Australian. (Australian Book Review) Meet Ed Kennedy - cab driving prodigy, pathetic card player and useless at sex. He lives in a suburban shack, shares coffee with his dog, the Doorman, and he's in nervous love with Audrey. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence - until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery. That's when the first Ace turns up. That's when Ed becomes the messenger. Chosen to care, he makes his way through town, helping and hurting (where necessary) until only one question remains. Who's behind Ed's mission? THE MESSENGER, by the highly acclaimed author Markus Zusak, is a cryptic journey filled with laughter, fists and love

My Thoughts 
I was in my local bookstore the other day trying to find yet another book to add to my collection, when one of the staff (and I can't for the life of me think of his name) recommended this book.  I was a bit skeptical because I had bought Markus Zusak other book The Book Thief and I couldn't get into it.  But I was told this was one of the 'bookstore dude's all time favouries, so I thought well, we'll give it a go.  Thank you heaps!!  This is a brilliant book.

The Messenger is told in first person, present tense (which I'm buying more of lately)from the point of view of Ed Kennedy.  Ed is your average 20 year old Taxi driver.  He lives on his own with his smelly 17 year old dog 'The Doorman' in a fairly rough suburb in Sydney.  He has no ambitions and going nowhere in life.

The story begins with Ed lying face down on the floor in the middle of a bank robbery.  This first chapter had me laughing and I just had to share it with anyone who listened.  I could just picture the scene playing out because it seemed so familiar and typical Aussie.

Then an envelope with the Ace of diamonds turns up in Ed's letterbox, and so begins the journey of Ed Kennedy.

Markus has done an awesome job in creating his characters.  While each character has their flaws, they stick together as a family and I couldn't help but really come to care about them.  The one that stands out the most for me would have to be 'The Doorman'.  He was just a lovable smelly dog.

For those of you who look forward to reading this, while this is funny, it's also hard edged... laced with swearing and violence.   

After reading this I sat there taking it all in.  I felt overwhelmed by the underling message this book portrays, and this is definitely a MUST READ.  Possibly life changing - I know something in me changed once I finished reading this.

The Messenger is one of the best books I've read.

'It's about glowing lights and small things that are big.' (page 239)

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