The Messenger (Zusak novel)

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The Messenger
The Messenger Au Cover.jpg
Australian paperback edition
Author Markus Zusak
Country Australia
Language English
Publisher Pan Macmillan
Publication date
10 January 2002
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 396 (first edition, paperback)

The Messenger is a 2002 Novel by Markus Zusak, and winner of the 2003 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award. The Messenger was released in the United States under the name I Am the Messenger. The entire story is written through the eyes of the main character, Ed Kennedy, who describes and comments on the story throughout the book.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The story begins with an introduction to the character of Ed Kennedy, a down-and-out underage taxi driver in Sydney, who is hopelessly in love with his best friend Audrey, who, to his dismay, feels that she cares about him too much to date him. Ed is standing in a bank queue when a robbery takes place. He accidentally foils the robbers' escape, and is proclaimed a hero. Shortly after, he receives an Ace of Diamonds in the mail. The ace is from an unknown source. On the ace is written a list of addresses and times. These represent a series of tasks that Ed must complete.

His tasks are as follows:

  1. He must save a woman who is raped by her husband almost every night.
  2. He must comfort a lonely old lady.
  3. He must show a teenage girl how to take control of her life and become more confident.

Throughout the book, Ed receives different playing cards in the mail. Each card is a different ace, and each ace contains a series of tasks, often in the form of cryptic clues. On the second to last card, he receives a list with movie titles on it and deciphers the names of his three best friends. From these cards he learns the greatest message of all: That he isn't the messenger, but instead the message.

The last card is a Joker and has his own address written on it. But as it is made clear in the last lines of the novel it's all about the realisation of chances and potential because as Ed finally says: "I'm not the messenger at all. I'm the message."

Stage adaptation[edit]

In 2008 the novel was adapted for the stage by Ross Mueller. It was first performed by the "Canberra Youth Theatre" on 24 November 2008.[2]

In 2011 the novel was adapted again for the stage by Curtin's Hayman Theatre Company and performed at the "Subiaco Arts Centre" in Perth, Western Australia.[3]

In 2015 the novel was adapted for stage by Xavier Hazard and Archie Stapleton and performed by the Redfoot Youth Theatre Company in Perth, Western Australia.[4]



  1. ^ "I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak - review" The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  2. ^ Mueller R, The Messenger, Currency Press, Melbourne, 2008.
  3. ^ "Subiaco Arts Centre". 
  4. ^ "The Messenger" Redfoot Youth Theatre. Retrieved 2015-11-01.
  5. ^ "Winners 2000-2006 CBCA". Children's Book Council of Australia. Retrieved 2010-03-01. 
  6. ^ "2006 Michael L. Printz Award Winner". Young Adult Library Services Association. Retrieved 2007-07-14.