Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The messenger - Marcus Zusak

I am always a little suspicious when publishers republish (usually with a new cover) an author's books that pre-date a best-seller. So I wasn't expecting a lot when I picked this from the author The Book Thief.

From the start the narrator, Ed Kennedy, a down-and-out underage taxi driver, was a captivating voice - at times I just wanted to shake him. Ed is reluctant hero who foils an incredibly 'stupid' bank robbery. From here he is targeted by an 'unknown' watcher who presents him with a series of challenges in the form of playing cards. Each ace holds a particular meaning.

An vast array of characters cross his path - from his best friend Audrey (who sleeps with everyone except for him and who he is hopelessly in love with) to the lonely old woman who thinks he is her dead husband come back to read her Wuthering Heights. Every social issue imaginable confronts the reader making the novel more of a social commentary than a straight narrative.

The ending is unusual and leaves the reader questioning the very nature of fiction writing.

Well worth a read.

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