So Australian Markus Zusak is joining the ranks of the authors (like Kathi Appelt, Robin Mckinley, and Ysabeau Wilce) of authors I LOATHE.

I loathe them because I am fiercly jealous of them. I loathe the because when I finish their books, I am left bereft, wanting more, wanting to understand the world again the way they explain through their fiction.

I am the Messenger is about a do-nothing guy who gets mysterious messages in the mail that start him on a path of helping others.

Only not helping others in a completely altruistic way. More like, helping others to get back to the truth of their lives, hitting their reset button to help them go back to the sometimes painful, naked truth of ourselves.

And it is painful. Literally.

And this is one of the reasons I loathe this author so much. In this book, as in his World War II book (The Book Thief) horror and pain and evil aren’t monolithic, magical, inevitable things. They are banal. They are the result of every day life and the small choices we make or don’t make that accumulate into evil.

And violence isn’t portrayed as this suprising, out of the blue strike agaisnt us, but is portrayed as something that happens to us, matter-of-factly, and may not always leave unwelcome scars.

I’m not sure I could pinpoint why this book (and his other book) have such a profound effect on me. It could be because the small mysteries of life (not big time murders or criminal plots) and how his characters go about coping with them is incredibly fascinating. Maybe its because the way he portrays the bad parts of life in this book give me hope that I can overcome the same in my life.

The only quibble I have with this book is the ending. There probably isn’t any satisfying way to end this book as so much rests on the mystery of who/what is sending the cards to the main character that spurs him into action. But the knit-up-tight ending where he gets the girl doesn’t quite tie it up together for me. I would have preferred leaving both the mystery of how Ed would live his own life after changing so many others’, and who was sending the cards to be left for us to imagine.

But all in all, this is Definitely Worth a Read for anyone.