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The Messenger

by Markus Zusak

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6,2443261,409 (4.02)424
After capturing a bank robber, nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, and he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness.
Recently added byprivate library, jmoon1, jenmoyers, keelz, Donoholzer, Arina1000
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» See also 424 mentions

English (306)  Dutch (5)  German (5)  Spanish (4)  Catalan (2)  French (1)  Piratical (1)  Czech (1)  Aragonese Spanish (1)  All languages (326)
Showing 1-5 of 306 (next | show all)
Holy crap, what the hell Zusak! What is his magic that pulls me in from the first sentence? He has a style all his own and it hooks me every time. And the raw emotion, damn! The ending did throw me a bit, but the more I think about it, it doesn’t bother me at all. He is definitely a top 10 favorite author, if not top 5, and the only confusion there is that I’ve never ranked my favorite authors, but I know he belongs. ( )
  MrMet | Apr 28, 2023 |
I was impressed by Markus Zusak because of The Book Thief. I picked this up, in part, because I loved The Book Thief so much. This book, of course, is nothing like it; I probably would not link the two to the same author if he hadn't signed his name to them. Both are experimental in nature and have great characters. I'm still partial to The Book Thief, but I wouldn't even be comparing them if they were written by different authors, since the structure and plot are worlds apart.

This is a sweet story. I listened to the audio book, and the reader was amazing. I especially loved the way he did the voice of "The Doorman" when Ed imagined what the dog was saying to him. I don't know if I would have rated it as highly if not for the reader—he was just so good and gave the book a special something.

It's hard to talk about it without giving too much away, so the rest of the review will be hidden behind a spoiler warning.

So, the ending—the big reveal. Was it original and cool for the author to insert himself as one of the characters, described from Ed Kennedy's point of view, or was it a cheat to say, "This all worked out just so, because I wrote it that way"? I kind of think it's a little of both. If his point was his message—that an ordinary person is capable of doing extraordinary things, that an average person can still make a difference, the message was delivered, regardless of how the author got it there. Was it less valid because we didn't have some supernatural being (because the character really would have had to be, in order to put all those events into motion) as an actual character in a more straightforward story? I don't think so. The story was already pretty much in the realm of fantasy—why not have the author drop by and hand off his manuscript? There's still a little piece of my brain saying it was cheating a bit, but it's really just a whisper.

I also like that he was playing with the idea of characters taking on a life of their own, which I've heard authors talk about a lot when describing their writing experience. I definitely liked that. By the end of the book, I had kind of resigned myself to Ed's unrequited love, but then he and Audrey made it happen despite that the author had written it as doomed. Yes, I like that very much.
( )
  Harks | Dec 17, 2022 |
I really enjoyed this. I loved the premise. It was original and creative and interesting. I liked Ed. I relate to Ed. I liked all the people he helped. It was fantastic. I liked the way God was handled in this - there was a touch of religion but it was peripheral. It was less about God and more about kindness and community and I really liked that message. And I loved the Aussie humour.

And then we come to the ending. WTF?! I could have happily accepted that the criminal did it for unknown reasons. That worked. Maybe it was God. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe someone just wanted to straighten out the world. I could've handled any of those reasons. The extra man saying he killed his father - that was fking bullshit. I hate that shit. There was no need to bring his father into it. It should have been cut from the final manuscript. It made what was otherwise a brilliant story weak. And stupid. The last two chapters: "The folder" was a completely unnecessary chapter. "The message" could have just as easily replaced it. Should have. Or not - the ending could have easily been left as "the ending is not the end" chapter. It irritates me so much. Why ruin an otherwise great book? It's so frustrating.

4 stars. ( )
  funstm | Dec 2, 2022 |
Book on CD read by Marc Aden Gray

From the book jacket: Ed Kenney is an underage cabdriver without much of a future. He’s pathetic at playing cards, hopelessly in love with his best friend, Audrey, and utterly devoted to his coffee-drinking dog, the Doorman. His life is one of peaceful routine and incompetence until he inadvertently stops a bank robbery.

My reactions
Water The Flowers.

I picked this up because I enjoyed Zusak’s The Book Thief and was hoping for … well, not more of the same, but something that would spark some of the same feelings I had reading that work.

I liked Ed well enough. He’s nineteen and struggling with what to do with his life. But when put to the test he rises to the occasion and figures out ways to help all those he’s directed to help. I loved a couple of the scenarios: the priest, the running girl, the elderly widow, and the family with the Christmas lights; but found several others really puzzling or even distasteful. I have no idea what the purpose was of Daryl and Keith.

In the end, I wound up confused about what was actually going on and found the entire premise rather unbelievable. Zusak joins the likes of author John Boyne for me – an author I’ve enjoyed at least once, perhaps even loved, but who is just as likely to completely disappoint me in another work .

Marc Aden Gray does a good job of narrating the audiobook, although his Aussie accent was a bit thick for me at times. I was glad I had the text handy so I could a read some of the passages when I wasn’t quite sure what I had just listened to. That’s not his fault, necessarily, ( )
  BookConcierge | Nov 29, 2022 |
“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.”
― Markus Zusak, I Am the Messenger

I absolutely adored this delightful little tale about a young man who becomes the guardian of a town. I found this chock full of sweetness, love and warmth.

I did not know it had won an award until after I read it but I can see why. I have recommended it to a few people. I read alot of dark stuff and it was nice to read a meaningful and lovely book that had such an upbeat message.


I'd like to talk about the ending. I did not like it at first but on further reflection I discovered it really did not matter at all..not for this book. The writing and the message stayed the same and were meaningful regardless.

I will add my voice to the long list of recommendations. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 4, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 306 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Markus Zusakprimary authorall editionscalculated
Ernst, AlexandraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, Marc AdenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors

protect the diamonds

survive the clubs

dig deep through the spades

feel the hearts
For Scout
First words
The gunman is useless.
It feels like the mornings clap their hands.
To make me wake. [75]
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Originally published as "The Messenger" in Australia.
Publisher's editors
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Canonical LCC

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Wikipedia in English (3)

After capturing a bank robber, nineteen-year-old cab driver Ed Kennedy begins receiving mysterious messages that direct him to addresses where people need help, and he begins getting over his lifelong feeling of worthlessness.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Nineteen-year-old Ed Kennedy is the epitome of pathetic mediocrity. He drives a cab, lives in a run-down shack with his malodorous dog, and plays cards with his friends Ritchie, Marv and Audrey. His life is completely devoid of purpose or significance – until he manages to foil a botched bank robbery, and someone, somewhere, decides that it’s time for Ed to become the messenger. Guided by playing cards left in his mailbox, he must venture from his shack to help people the rest of the world has abandoned. Not all of Ed’s tasks are easy, however, and the true purpose of his messages may be more than it seems.
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