Author Focus – Markus Zusak

It’s dawning on me pretty quickly that keeping a blog is definitely more difficult than it would have seemed. Other bloggers seem to make it seem so effortless; they just post wonderful blogs all the time. Although I’m sure they all struggle – I’ll tell myself they do to make myself feel better. I want my blog to have a consistent flow of posts; I don’t want it lying dormant for weeks on end. But at the same time I also don’t want to post anything just for the sake of it. I want to believe in what I’m writing. It won’t be possible for me to post every day, or even other every day, because I’m writing a blog focusing primarily on book reviews. I will try my best however.

Today’s post is going to be focusing on one my favourite authors – the Australian novelist Markus Zusak. He’s best known for writing the young adult novels I am the Messenger and The Book Thief, both of which featured in my ‘Top 10’ post.

Zusak quickly rose to one of the top spots on my list of favourite authors. Apart from J.K. Rowling, he is the biggest inspiration to me as an aspiring writer. He is an astonishing writer, I mean truly incredible. He has a writing style that I admire more than any other author – it’s breath-taking to read. I know every author is talented, to some degree, but Zusak just has some sort of edge. Everything he writes is special. There’s a lilt to both of the novels that almost reminds me of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. They read like poetry, or like fairy-tales, but they have all the depth and beauty of a novel. They travel along gorgeously, drawing you in with ease. His characters are relatable, his story-lines intriguing.

The Book Thief –

The first of the two books that I read. I would have been around fifteen at the time, and I read it with vigour. My friend had mentioned it to me a few times, so I decided to give it a go. My only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner. I started reading it in the bookstore while I was waiting around for my mum, and I had half of the prologue read before I had even bought it. It was one of those books that instantly made me oblivious to the real world, the sort that makes you laugh out loud in public without even realising you are.

The Book Thief is hands down my favourite book of all time, since buying it I’ve read it over thirteen times, and I could read it again and again. The story of Liesel Meminger is devastatingly beautiful, and heart-breaking. It had me crying tears of laughter on one page, and then sobbing at the next. It fills you with gut-wrenching sadness, and indescribable happiness. There is a rawness to the story, a something special that I connected with instantly. Even the layout of the book was lovely, reading like someone’s innermost thoughts. All of the characters are realistic and relatable, and Death as a narrator is both charming and honest. You feel the characters’ pain through Death’s narration, you live their fear and you share in their moments of complete joy.

I am the Messenger –

I read this one while I was on holiday in California when I was eighteen. I had wanted it for some time, but unfortunately it didn’t seem to be available where I live, so as soon as I found a Barnes and Noble, I found it as quick as I could. I was relieved to discover that it had that same instant pull to it that The Book Thief did. They are, obviously, different in plot line, but it has that same distinctive Zusak writing style. I think this one would maybe appeal to young adults who don’t read often more than The Book Thief would. It’s a book that made me chuckle on more than one occasion. Once again Zusak creates characters that you just want to know more about. For being such an ordinary guy, Ed Kennedy’s story quickly becomes intriguing.  The novel has a light-hearted, easy narrative, but the story itself is dark and deep at times.

Zusak’s books are like old friends to me, providing that special feeling of familiarity that only your favourite book or film can.  And they are books that I will recommend time and time again to anyone, anytime I get the chance.

Happy Reading!

Brianna.

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