The Messenger by Markus Zusak.

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(also titled I am the Messenger)

Paperback, 386 pages

Published January 1st, 2002 by Pan Macmillan Australia

IBSN: 0330363883

Meet Ed Kennedy – a very ordinary young man with a slight whiff of deadbeat about him. Also, become acquainted with his three friends – Audrey, Marv and Ritchie, all of whom also have that aforementioned whiff. Ed lives with his horrible smelling dog, the Doorman, and pretty much splits the rest of his time playing cards and driving a taxi.

His life takes an unexpected turn after he stops a bank robbery – the robber was utterly useless – and soon after receives an ace of diamonds in the mail. Written upon it are three addresses, each with a different time attached to it. This is the first of four cards, all with different places and clues for Ed that lead him to people who need his help in some way.

But who is sending these cards?

Markus Zusak is, in my opinion, an absolute legend. From the very first page this is a funny and touching read. The bank robbery is perfect in it’s hilarity and I fell in love immediately with Ed and his larrikin mates. I want to walk over to his little shack and join in their card game, cursing the Doorman’s incredible stench and mocking Marv’s lemon of a car.

I had one of those involuntary content smiles on my face most of the time, loving all the back of forth between Ed and his friends. Even most of the second tier characters, like Father O’Reilly and Milla, are worthy of instantaneous love.

The Messenger, from the get go, is one of my favourite books of all time. It is very Australian, very funny, it draws you in, it ends well (look at the photo in the back when you finish reading it!) and it is worthy of a second and third and fourth read.

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