386 pages, published 2002
Protect the diamonds, surive the diamonds, dig deep through spades, feel the hearts... (tag line)
My full name's Ed Kennedy. I'm nineteen. I'm an under-age cab driver. I'm typical of many of the young men you see in this suburban outpost of a city - not a whole lot of prospects or possibility. That aside, I read more books than I should, and I'm decidely crap at sex and doing my taxes. Nice to meet you. (p. 6)
And so you are introduced to our narrator, Ed Kennedy who, as he points out, is the 'epitome of ordinary'. He lives in a poor town, the only one of four kids not to have moved to the city. He rents a fibro shack where he lives with his indescribably stinky dog, Doorman, with whom he has an almost psychic connection. His life consists of little more than work, his weekly card games and his 'nervous' unrequited love for his best friend, Audrey. What's more, he is quite aware that his life so far has amounted to nothing.
Until the day he inadvertantly stops a bank robber. Labelled a hero, he even gets his face in the paper ... and an unusual card in the mail: a playing card.
The ace of diamonds arrives with three addresses and little else. Deciding to see what this is all about, Ed investigates the addresses and the people who live there: an old woman, lonely and senile; a young girl, running barefoot every morning; and a husband who comes home drunk every night, forcing himself on his already broken wife to the cries of their small daughter ...
What is this? Why is Ed being targeted? And what is a no-hoper like him supposed to do about it? He can't just do nothing...
I really loved The Messenger. I picked it up because I had thoroughly enjoyed The Book Theif and, though I had little idea as to what Messenger was about, I had expected more of the same; I was wrong. While it still had Zusak's rich and unusual discriptions, it was also so much more humourous than I thought it would be.
"I said shut up back there!" the gunman shouts again.
"HURRY UP THEN!" Marv roars back at him. He's in no mood now. No mood at all.
He's face dowb on the floor of the bank.
The bank's being robbed.
It's abnormally hot for spring.
The air conditioning's broken down.
His car's just been insulted.
Old Marv's at the end of his tether, or his wit's end. Whatever you want to call it - he's got the shits something terrible. (p. 4/5)
You really feel for Ed; he's exactly what he's supposed to be (painfully ordinary) but at the end of the day he really has a good heart. I'd highly recommend it, a wonderful read. 4/5