Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

1. First lines 2. Publisher: Pan Macmillan
A long read, but entertaining, and revealing traumatic circumstances of the boys in this story.

Plot summary: This is Clay’s story, as told by Matthew, one of his four brothers (the Dunbar boys). He tells of the lives they lead looking after themselves when their mother dies, and their father leaves. Clay builds a bridge, both metaphorically and literally, as he matures and reconciles his past.

“… he was suddenly, expansively talkative, which for Clay was eight extra words.”

“… they returned to hurting again. There was guilt for enjoying anything. Especially the joy of forgetting.”

“ In the evening we played football in the riverbed. It was something that had to be done. The mozzies could barely keep up with us.”

~Quotes from the book.
  • “Sometimes tedious, at other times masterful, this isn’t a novel destined for the success that met The Book Thief, though, if you have the patience, it’s worth sticking around for.” Full review: Irish Times
  • “Bridge of Clay is a tender book, set in a world that is anything but. Its enormous ambitions are sustained by heartfelt beliefs, not least in the power of love. This vast novel is a feast of language and irony. There is sly wit on every page. Its narrative structure makes demands on the reader but it constantly works through tangled lives to achieve moments of sublime clarity and insight. It is such a compassionate book that it is hard not to fall a bit in love with it yourself.” Full review: Sydney Morning Herald
  • “Much like building a bridge stone by stone, this read requires painstaking effort and patience.” Full review: Kirkus Reviews

Other editions:

UK edition – Penguin               US edition – Penguin             AUS edition – Pan Macmillan

Extract online   Reading group notes  Author’s website


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