Home > Mystery, Realism, Senior Fiction > The Messenger by Markus Zusak

The Messenger by Markus Zusak

The Messenger by Markus Zusak. Pub. Picador 2009.

Ed Kennedy is a 19 year old kid living in a small Australian town who drives a taxi and is underachieving big time. He is intelligent, sensitive, a reader but really doesn’t know where his life is going.

His two male friends Marv and Ritchie are dead from the neck up, and his love interest, Audrey is not interested in him. His father is dead and his mother who is a real livewire, smokes, drinks, swears and wears Ug Boots. When he tells her that his life is going nowhere she says “why don’t you have a wee cry about it Ed?” Her voice is like the diff whine of an FJ Holden.

In the opening chapter Ed becomes a reluctant hero when he and his mates are caught up in an hilarious bank robbery. Ed makes the TV News, the Front page of the paper and everybody knows him.

Some days later Ed receives the Ace of Diamonds in the mail with three addresses and a time beside each one. He visits them over the first chapter at the time specified and contacts three interesting and apparently unrelated people and circumstances.

This forms the basis of a remarkable,  inspiring and uplifting read. I wish I could read it again.

I loved the maleness of the book, it was so refreshing.

Zusak is fast becoming an essential writer to read, his command of plot, character and language is superb. The novel is structured in five parts each beginning with an Ace and the final chapter being the Joker. Within each chapter the divisions are from Ace to King. The ingenuity of the man is astonishing.

Suitable for Secondary school readers and young adults. Read it, it’s just brilliant. Only criticism, terrible cover.

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