10 December 2015

Review: The Messenger by Markus Zusak

When I read The Book Thief by Markus Zusak in 2007, I honestly thought he'd peaked. I assumed nothing he'd ever written before Book Thief, (or would ever write afterwards for that matter) could even begin to compete on that level. 

That foolish assumption robbed me of the opportunity to fall in love with The Messenger for eight years more than necessary. That's a bookish tragedy if you ask me and I've definitely learned my lesson.

Markus Zusak is an Australian writing wizard and he captured me on the first page of The Messenger with the voice of the main character Ed Kennedy. I was chuckling along with the cadence of his life, his friends and that of his pet dog The Doorman, until something meaningful started to unfold.

If I try to explain what happens, I'm afraid it'll sound absurd, and I can't speak highly enough of this book, so I think I'll keep this review simple.

If you're interested in themes of why we're here or how we can make a difference, Ed Kennedy will take you on an unexpected journey that will light up your soul and make you laugh while gently asking you to look at your surroundings - and the people in it - in an entirely new way. 

The Messenger is a quick, easy, funny, thoroughly moving and entertaining novel although it carries a powerful message; as the title suggests.

The ending is unique though, and when reading other reviews, it's clear that the readers who 'didn't get' the ending were let down by it, but the readers who did 'get it' are a little in awe; myself included. Whether you enjoy the ending or not is immaterial because Zusak offers an amazingly enjoyable reading experience along the way and it's one of those rare books I'd like to read again in the future.

My rating = *****

Carpe Librum!

Would you like to comment?

  1. Thanks so much for this review. I loved the book too, and it's so different from The Book Thief. It actually inspired my own writing - a quirky quest underpinned by something deeper :-)

  2. Thanks Virginia, and that must be the highest praise mustn't it? That an author's work inspired someone else's writing?

  3. Yes, some writers intimidate but others inspire. I haven't quite worked out why that happens :-)

  4. Thanks Virginia, I understand what you mean, but I'm sure each author has their doubts at some stage. Imagine if Markus Zusak wasn't sure he could be a successful writer and gave up before giving us The Book Thief and The Messenger. It'd be such a loss. I say even if you're intimidated, you should just go for it.

  5. I first read The Messenger back when I was in college, some 9 or 10 years ago. I loved it! There was just something so natural about the characters and I felt that the main character was just so different than the characters others write; he was fairly plain with nothing deliberately special about him. I think he was truly unique.
    I bought myself a copy of it soon after reading, which I found just the other day whilst cleaning. I think I ought to read it again. :)

  6. How wonderful to have read it so young Cattsy. I fell in love with the character too, he was very real and instantly likeable, I'd love to hear your thoughts if you read it again now. Hopefully it still has the same magic for you.

  7. I'm so glad you suggested that I read this!

  8. Phew, that's a relief Theresa, I'm so glad you enjoyed it :-)


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!