Saturday, February 17, 2007

I Am The Messenger

Zusak, Markus. 2005. I Am The Messenger.

Set in Australia, I AM THE MESSENGER is a charmingly odd story of how one man learns some important life lessons over the course of a year. Nineteen or twenty years old and a cab driver, our hero, Ed Kennedy is not on the fast-track for success. In fact, most of his friends would nominate him as one of the laziest men ever. But things begin to change when Ed begins receiving some strange mail. Messages on aces. But perhaps I’m jumping ahead, Ed and his friend witness a bank robbery. During this robbery, Ed inadvertantly plays hero and ends up with the gun while the robber makes a very botched escape. After the robbery, things really begin to change. He’s the headliner in this small town. A real hero, at least for a week or so while everyone’s talking. But then he begins receiving strange, cryptic messages on playing cards. What could the messages mean? And is his life in danger if he ignores them? Who is behind this elaborate scheme? As he ‘delivers’ each message--each unique message--Ed begins to realize certain things about himself, his family, his friends, his life. I AM THE MESSENGER is an odd but enjoyable mystery.

At the age of 30, Zusak has already asserted himself as one of today’s most innovative and poetic novelists. With the publication of The Book Thief, he is now being dubbed a ‘literary phenomenon’ by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is the award-winning author of four previous books for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger, recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature. He lives in Sydney.

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