59 pages 1 hour read

Markus Zusak

I Am The Messenger

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2002

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Socioeconomic Context: Struggle and Solidarity in Working-Class Australia

Much of Zusak’s work centers the experiences of working-class Australians and emphasizes the importance of connection and community. The author draws from his own background to realistically portray these circumstances. Zusak was born into a working-class family in Sydney in 1975. His parents were German and Austrian immigrants who saw education and mastery of the English language as their children’s key to opportunity. Zusak held various jobs before becoming a professional author, working as “a house painter, a janitor and a high school English teacher” (“Markus Zusak Biography.” Chicago Public Library, 31 Oct. 2012).

His first published novels were a trilogy about a working-class Australian teenager named Cameron Wolfe and his “struggle to define himself within his family and society” (“Markus Zusak Biography.” Chicago Public Library, 31 Oct. 2012). Zusak loosely based Cameron and his brother Ruben on himself and his own brother. Over the course of the trilogy, Cameron grapples with love and loss while striving to support his family.

In his fourth book, I Am the Messenger, Zusak again focuses on the lives and struggles of the working class. At the beginning of the novel, 19-year-old cab driver Ed feels like a failure because he never left the problem-plagued town where he grew up.

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By Markus Zusak