Book review: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Title: Bridge of Clay

Author: Markus Zusak

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication date: 9th October 2018

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


“The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle.

The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?”

My review:

Another success for Markus Zusak! Anyone familiar with his writing will already know that his books are very different in concept but very similar in execution. Bridge of Clay was no exception. It follows the five Dunbar brothers and in particular one of the brothers, Clay, on his journey of forgiveness and redemption as he helps his father build a bridge.

The writing in Bridge of Clay is phenomenal. I can’t praise Markus Zusak’s writing enough and there is no way of categorising it either because it is so unique and cannot compare to anything similar in the market. Although the sentence structure is straightforward and vocabulary simple, he has the ability to provoke incredibly strong feelings of empathy in the reader through his writing. I was tempted to highlight almost every passage and had to hold myself back several times.

 “She laughed and he felt her breath, and he thought about that warmness, how people were warm like that, from inside to out; how it could hit you and disappear, then back again, and nothing was ever permanent…”

This book’s downfall was the beginning as it felt too slow and the details too irrelevant. Aspects like calling the stranger in the Dunbar house “the murderer” and their pets’ peculiar names felt odd at first but I slowly managed to get used to his style of writing again and eventually understand the pace, although it took me a lot of effort and I was stopping and starting this book over the course of around 10 days which is unusually long for me.

“A murderer should probably do many things, but he should never, under any circumstances, come home.”

It is hard to describe this book as anything other than unique. Markus Zusak writes about common and everyday parts of life and twists them to make each detail significant. Despite its shortcomings, it was ultimately the relationships explored between husband and wife, father and son, as well as the bonds between the five brothers which allowed this book to fit in with the bizarre and indescribable genre similar to The Book Thief and I Am Messenger. If you are a fan of Markus Zusak then this book is a must and I would equally encourage anyone not yet familiar with his style of writing to look into reading it as you might discover a hidden gem.

11 thoughts on “Book review: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

    • Ah you may struggle with this one if you didn’t like The Book Thief, although having said that, this one is very different in concept so you may end up preferring it! Thanks, Emer!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jennifer! Yes, this one has been a lot more controversial than The Book Thief but I think it’s because Zusak’s writing is just so different to anything else out there so it’s understandable why people find it tricky. I hope you enjoy his books when you decide to read them!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Reading this review made me so disappointed in myself, Darina! 🙈

    Why? Because when Zusak came to our city, I got a signed copy of Bridge of Clay. Back in Jan 2019. And I still haven’t read it. Gah, I’m so ashamed of how bad I am with my owned unread books.

    But your lovely review has convinced me. I’m gonna pick it up soon. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha I wouldn’t worry about it too much, just think how special it will be once you get round to it! I also got Bridge of Clay as a Christmas gift at the end of 2018 and didn’t actually read it until November 2019! I hope you enjoy it, it’s a truly wonderful book!

      Liked by 1 person

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