Saturday, 2 February 2019

Book Review: Bridge of Clay (Literary Fiction)

Book Bingo 2019 #3 'Literary Fiction'

Book Bingo is a reading challenge is hosted by Theresa Smith Writes , Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse. Every second Saturday, book bingo participants reveal which bingo category they have read and what book they chose. 

Bridge of Clay 
Markus Zusak

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Publication date: 9th October 2018
Pages: 592
RRP: $32.99
Format Read: uncorrected paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher


 Bridge of Clay is about a boy who is caught in the current - of destroying everything he has, to become all he needs to be. He's a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for memory and tragedy. He builds a bridge to save his family, but also to save himself. It's an attempt to transcend humanness, to make a single, glorious moment:

A miracle and nothing less.

Markus Zusak 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 by Markus Zusak was ten years in the making so I was expecting big things from this story and I wasn’t disappointed.

The story opens with Matthew, the oldest Dunbar boy, bringing home the old TW, the typewriter of a Grandmother they never knew.

Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.

This is Clay’s story as told by Matthew in an omniscient point of view. Whilst Matthew insists this is Clay’s story it is in fact a story of the Dunbar family and how they came to be. This is Penelope Lesciuszko’s story, Michael Dunbar’s story and also their combined story with the lead up of what was to come and what it is now; a family of ramshackle tragedy.

Zusak’s short sentences read like poetry and you often need to stop and take in the meaning behind the words.

Both parents were readers, for their mother it was The Iliad and the Odyssey, for their father it was the Quarryman. The books are mentioned often and have great significance in the parents’ lives and that of the Dunbar boys. They were also great storytellers passing down to the boys not only their love of books but the stories of their own lives.

As much as you would think a story of five boys bringing themselves up would be rambunctious and unruly it is in fact tender, loving and intimate. That’s not to say the boys don’t bicker, fight and sometimes drink too much.

The story jumps around in time however the authors phrasing at the start of each new chapter makes it easy to tell exactly where you are in time.

This is a story of love, heartbreak, togetherness, family, despair, life, death, forgiveness and reconciliation. A family saga without all the unnecessary words.

I cried all the way through the second half of the book. Some 300 pages read through blurry tear filled eyes. Maybe being the mother of four sons brought a deeper connection. A felt I knew these boys and all their different personalities.

I think I’ve just read my best book of 2019. I’m not sure anything can top Bridge of Clay. Even before I’d finished the book I wanted to go back and read all those beautiful words again.

My Rating 10/10

*This review is: 
Book 'B' in the AtoZ challenge 


Photo credit: Goodreads
Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and is translated into more than forty languages – establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.

To date, Zusak has held the number one position at,, the New York Times bestseller list, as well as in countries across South America, Europe and Asia.

His books, The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, When Dogs Cry (also titled Getting the Girl ), The Messenger (or I am the Messenger ) and The Book Thief have been awarded numerous honours ranging from literary prizes to readers choice awards to prizes voted on by booksellers.

In a statement about his latest novel, Zusak said:"Clay Dunbar builds a bridge for a multitude of reasons:for his brothers and to honour his parents...but it's also an attempt at greatness. He builds a bridge to save himself, and to make a single beautiful moment: a miracle and nothing less."
Markus Zusak grew up in Sydney, Australia and still lives there with his wife and two children.

You can connect with the author at the following sites:
Website  ||  Facebook  ||   Instagram 



  1. What a wonderful review! I definitely want to read this one now.