‘I’d rather chase the sun than wait for it’ – the works of Marcus Zusak: WORD Christchurch Autumn Season 2019

Next Monday 13 May 8pm to 9pm at The Piano, WORD Christchurch is proudly presenting Markus Zusak, the Australian author who encourages our imagination with Young Adult titles such as The Book Thief and The Messenger.

His work is both heartfelt and thought-provoking, with each sentence written in a beautiful and inventive way. A variety of characters burst from the pages of his work, each telling us their story in their own special way; whether it is young Liesel in 1939 Nazi Germany whose story is narrated by Death, or the young cab driver Ed Kennedy who at first doesn't appear to have much of a future -  that is, until the bank robbery.

The Book Thief

Zusak has written four novels. The Book Thief was quickly an international bestseller, has been translated into more than forty languages, and adapted into a film. He has also written a series called 'Wolfe Brothers,' which was published first in 1999. This series, while not as widely known, follows two brothers who are trying to figure out who they are and how they fit into the world. It contains backyard brotherly punch-ups, youth antics, life crisis, and how girls are seen in magazines compared to the 'real world' girls. Like every piece of his work, it gives flashes of images of real life.

Fighting Ruben Wolfe

Zusak has garnered a number of honours and awards including the Margaret A. Edwards Award. This recognises an author that gives a lasting contribution to young adult literature, which his writing epitomizes with ease.

Markus Zusak's work has a beautifully unique style, it's very poetic, and the words seem to form and jump off the page before your very eyes.

“Of course you're real - like any thought or any story. It's real when you're in it.”
Markus Zusak, The Messenger.

His latest masterpiece, Bridge of Clay, is definitely no exception. 

Bridge of Clay

WARNING: tissues may be required. This book is a heart-wrencher that hits hard and fast, focusing on love, relationships, and the joy and sorrow that comes with it. It is simply overwhelming and I still can't stop thinking about it since I got my little hands on a copy. The start is a little hard to follow, but it will suddenly suck you right in, without a word of warning (so I will warn you now).

I also suggest that along with the box of tissues you find a nice cosy reading corner for the ending. I unfortunately finished this at a café, and I got asked multiple times from many lovely people, if I was okay from the amount of tears I was trying to hold back!

I will not give anything away, but it follows the lives of five Dunbar boys, and is told from the point of view of the eldest Matthew, though it focuses on Clay (the fourth brother). Their mother sadly passes away, and the father abandons the brothers who are left to fend for themselves in the suburbs of Sydney. The book contains both symbolical and physical meanings, and though the timeline does seem to jump a bit, it does not detract from the story or the flood of emotions raging inside. Again: You WILL need tissues.

What do I personally love about Zusak's writing? His characterization. He writes about real people who we all can relate to in some way. They aren't perfect. The people that inhabit his world are flawed, raw, and above all - honest. It is their vulnerabilities, imperfections and human qualities that breathe life to them. You feel like you know the characters - their heartache, embarrassment, warmth, and vigour filling you with a variety of emotions in a way that makes you understand - and more importantly - care for them. Have you personally read any of his work? Want to see more or simply anticipated to start?

His work is loved by millions of readers around the globe, is in a variety of forms (such as physical books, eBooks and eAaudiobooks), and holds a powerful impact with strong messages fluttering within, and is a form of language magic that makes you simply want more.

I can't wait to sit and listen to him - to try to find out how he can create something so beautiful as well as his real-life inspirations.

Come along and see for yourself to WORD Christchurch - and I am sure you won't be disappointed!

Markus Zusak: Bridge of Clay - Monday 13 May 8pm to 9pm

Markus Zusak, author of the beloved and acclaimed The Book Thief, makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past. Bridge of Clay, according to the Guardian, is a ‘brilliantly illuminated follow-up’ that is ‘affirmatively full of life’. Zusak talks with writer and editor Liz Grant about his work and glittering career.