Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is one of my favourite books ever, so I was very excited to see he had written another – Bridge of Clay. And I wasn’t disappointed. (Apparently he has actually written six books, but strangely I have only read The Book Thief. I need to rectify that!)

Bridge of Clay is the story of the five Dunbar boys – brothers who fight, but care for each other deeply. Narrated by eldest brother, Matthew, for the majority of the book the five boys are living without parents. The Clay in the title doesn’t refer to a material – it refers to the fourth brother, Clay.

The story is set in Australia (it took me ages to work that out) and feels like it is set in the 1970s, but it is actually the present day, or very close to it. It has two strands to it – the current time and family history. So it tells the story of the boys’ parents – their childhoods and how they met. It often refers to things in passing that you don’t quite understand in the present, but then goes into them in more detail later in the book, as part of the history. That way, you gradually piece the story together.

It is a long book and quite challenging, but the story is quite simple. It is essentially the story of a family – a family torn apart by tragedy. And it is the story of Clay, best loved of the brothers, who makes his own journey to help himself heal from tragedy, piece his family’s story together and make his brothers proud of him.

It is a beautiful description of families and brothers. Anyone with boys of their own or who has grown up with brothers will know that boys fight and they make a mess. And the more boys, the more fighting and the more mess. For the Dunbars, fighting is the only way they know to express their love for each other. Their relationship with each other and with those around them had me in tears several times.

Bridge of Clay isn’t an easy read and wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I absolutely loved it! I would go as far as to say it is one of my favourite reads of the year.

Bridge of Clay

Read With Me

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Ooh I loved the book thief too. I’m going to put this on my list of things to read, it sounds just my sort of thing. Thanks for the recommendation. Also, I’ve just finished the two Hendrick Groen books and posted them to my friend with a note with my sister’s address in so she can post them to her when she’s finished with them. So that’s three people who will have read some books you recommended. You really should have an amazon affiliate link, I take your recommendations very seriously!

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    • This really is such a good book! I would be interested to know what you think of it. It’s lovely to hear that you follow my recommendations. I know there are a handful of people who do, but my book reviews are by far my least read posts! (Although my most popular on Pinterest.)

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  2. The Book Thief has been on my reading pile forever but I’m moving it up to the top after reading your review. Bridge of Clay sounds interesting too. Which do you think I should read first?


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    • The Book Thief is a stunning book. I’m sure you will love it. It doesn’t really matter which you read first as they’re unrelated, but I would be inclined to read The Book Thief just because it was written first!

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    • It’s not for everyone. It’s quite heavy in parts and hard to follow at first, but I absolutely loved it!

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  3. I’m never keen on long books, the size always puts me off but I see them as a challenge to complete. I haven’t read the Book Thief yet so maybe I should start with that #readwithme

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    • I love long books! I feel like they’re good value for money, apart from loving having the time to get into a story. I feel a bit cheated by short books. I’m sure you would love The Book Thief. It’s an amazing book.

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    • I’m surprised at how many people haven’t read The Book Thief! I think you would love both books.

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    • I’m sure you will enjoy this one too. The Book Thief is a brilliant book!

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