Every reader has that book that makes them remember why reading is so special. For me, it is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I read it for the first time in middle school for a class project, and my life changed forever. There are so many things about this book that make it great, from the characters to the storyline. Overall, it’s a must-read. However, there is more to Zusak than just one book. Here’s what you should know about this fantastic writer.
Markus Zusak’s Backlist
It is safe to say Markus Zusak has earned his credibility as a talented author. He has six books under his belt, all of which have been met with praise. His first three releases (The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and When Dogs Cry) is a young adult series that follows teenage brothers and their tribulations with their family. Themes of fitting in and a struggle to grasp one’s identity are seen throughout these stories. In 2011, Zusak published the three as an anthology called Underdogs, bringing the stories to American readers for the first time.
Zusak’s next major hit was The Messenger, or I Am The Messenger in the U.S. Released in 2002, The Messenger won an accolade of awards, including the 2006 Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book. Additionally, the story has been adapted as a play and a 2023 TV show. The story opens with a taxi driver, Ed Kennedy, stopping a robbery which then involves him in a game with the convicted robber. Ed plays the game, going to various addresses in the city and becoming acquainted with neighborhood figures in an attempt to recognize his potential.
Most recently, Zusak released Bridge of Clay, a story about brothers who come together after their father disappears. Altogether, it is about relationships. The book has an ensemble cast of characters with fascinating pasts and connections tied together strategically; so strategic that it took Zusak twenty years to finish. Many conclude that it was worth the wait, with the narration and character building being one of Zusak’s strengths in all of his work.
Other Really Cool Things He’s Done
Along with being a very successful author, Zusak worked as an English teacher at his high school while he was writing. He then got his footing as an established writer and, following the success of The Book Thief, gave a TEDx Sydney speech about his writing process. Additionally, he worked as an executive producer for the TV adaptation of The Messenger. The man has many talents, and his influence on the reading community is paramount!
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