20 books in 2020: I am the messenger


20 books in 2020: I am the messenger

This was yet another recommendation from a friend at work and when I saw it was on sale I picked it up for my Kindle.

The book, by Markus Zusak, unfolds in the form of a first-person narrative from the reluctant hero of the book, Ed Kennedy. At the start, we join Ed as he lies on the floor in the midst of a bank heist that he unwittingly manages to foil.

Being deemed a hero for his actions only briefly paints Ed’s life in a favourable light. He’s pretty much a dead beat, driving cabs around the town he grew up in to make a living, with no real purpose in life. When he’s not doing that he’s spending time with his friends playing cards or living alone with his smelly dog, The Doorman.

However, following the events of the bank heist, Ed receives a playing card in his letterbox with three addresses marked on it. Driven by curiosity initially, Ed’s life changes dramatically as he endeavours to complete the barely defined tasks presented to him.

The book is written in a charming and endearing fashion with well-defined characters and vivid scene-setting. I loved it from the outset. The suburban Australian location and the language and motivations of each character are well thought out and the tale rips along at a rapid pace.

Well, until about the 75% mark when, for some reason, it runs out of steam a little bit. There are maybe two or three short chapters where it seems that the author isn’t quite ready to finish the story and it’s mirrored by Ed’s own procrastination and reflection.

The descriptive language pales somewhat whilst Ed is looking inward instead of outward and, for a bit, the story didn’t tug me along by the hand as it had done since the very start.

Fortunately, things pick up again toward the end and it’s ultimately a very satisfying read that I gave a full 5 stars. Clever, imaginative and thought-provoking. It’s well worth a read and I’ll be looking at Marcus Zusak’s other books to pick up.