Bridge of Clay - Markus Zusak

December 19, 2018

3 / 5 or maybe 4 / 5 Stars? 

 

 A difficult book about grief, loss and forgiveness.

 

Bridge of Clay tells the story of the Dunbar brothers who are forced to fend for themselves after the death of their brother and the disappearance of their father.

 

The boys find themselves all alone in a house with no rules. That is until their absentee father returns and asks his sons for help where there can be none. However one son agrees. Clay.

 

Written by the the bestselling author Markus Zusak, responsible for the much loved The Book Thief, this book has been over a decade in the making. It’s a big book, weighing in at over 600 pages. At times it certainly felt like it. I found myself persevering with it when normally I wouldn’t.

 

The first third of the book was massively confusing for me as the timelines jumped back and forth. There appeared to be little structure to this and seemed erratic, however, thankfully, the book settled and became more readable as it progressed. It’s a slow, character-driven piece that many may take pleasure in but for me it was something of a slog with so much unnecessary filler.

 

The brothers all have personalities of their own but the author does not dwell long enough to make them interesting, perhaps apart from Clay.The most interesting character for me was the mother and the backstory of her journey from communist Poland to her arrival in Australia.

 

Unfortunately I mostly ended up losing interest in the characters. I’m unsure why I was compelled to finish, it did keep eating away at me and made me want to give it another go. It may be that the author does write beautifully at times and the prose is almost poetical (but perhaps overly?) My initial reaction was that I didn’t enjoy the book; however, I still find myself thinking about this book some time later. Perhaps the author wants you to work at it and makes it a purposely difficult read so that the reward is greater?

 

It’s an odd,confusing book about love, loss, building bridges, (literally and metaphorically) and forgiveness. Did I enjoy it? Weeks later I’m still conflicted! Give it a go, maybe?

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