Reviewed by Olivia at Angus & Robertson:
The book world has been in a daze ever since the release of Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief in 2005, the captivating tale of a young girl living in Nazi Germany who steals books before they’re burned to cinders. When the news broke that Zusak was releasing a new book after 13 years, you could practically hear the collective inhale as readers everywhere began to hold their breath. Would Bridge of Clay be able to capture that same magic as its predecessor? After reading it, I can safely say that it’s time to exhale because this book is absolutely extraordinary.
With Bridge of Clay, Zusak has written a sprawling family saga that tells the story of the Dunbar boys, five brothers who have been practically abandoned by their father after the death of their mother. When he turns up again out of the blue asking for their help with building a bridge, only one of them cannot resist the urge to go: quiet, mysterious Clay, for whom something inescapable is brewing. Zusak is a master at capturing the voices of his characters in wonderful detail, and Bridge of Clay is certainly no different. Each of the Dunbar brothers feels utterly alive, like somebody you knew or went to school with, and I fell in love with all of them, especially Clay. This book is written with a rawness that can be intoxicating at times, as it explores what it takes for Clay to survive with the weight of his family on his shoulders. It may have been over a decade in the making but I loved every single word of it. Zusak is a storyteller like no other, and I think Bridge of Clay was well worth the wait.
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.