An oldie but a goodie, I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak is one of those books you can’t quite figure out, not all the way. The influx of feeling and information on each page is almost too much, but never quite tips the scale to annoyingly dense. It’s a difficult writing style to pull off, but one that Markus Zusak seems to have down pat. He is, of course, best known for The Book Thief, one of the best books of all time (I think so, at least), and I Am the Messenger is a little bit like that, but not very much. It’s not one for the delicate or easily offended, but if you can take the grit and grime of the narration it’s an excellent book.
When Ed Kennedy, a nineteen-year-old cabdriver, stops the robbery of a bank that he’s in, he doesn’t think much of it. It’s just him being a little bit more useful than his usual, unimportant self. Then he gets the first card, with three addresses and times, and his whole life changes. At each address, he sees something that needs fixing, and he tries to fix it. As he continues to get the cards in the mail, his list of heroic efforts grows, until he realizes that he’s not such an incompetent deadbeat as he once thought he was.
The Book Thief hit me hard, but in a good way, so when I saw that the Australian author had written other books I jumped on them fast. I Am the Messenger was great for someone suffering from withdrawal from another book, and it stands well on its own. If you haven’t read it yet, there are sure to be cheap/free copies floating around, and if you have read it, you might consider dusting it off again. It’s quite the ride.