Aussie Author Challenge Book Reviews

Book Review: Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay is the story of the Dunbar boys – 5 brothers who are living in a house without any adults. There is the oldest, Matthew who is also the narrator of the family saga. Then there is Rory, Clay, Henry and the youngest, Tommy. They share their home with assorted animals including a dog, a cat, a pigeon and a mule. Matthew and Clay are probably the most responsible of the lot with the others being quite unruly. Their mother Penelope migrated to Australia from Europe as a young woman. But after her death, their father Michael disappeared. Until one fine day, he reappears requesting help from his boys to build a bridge. Clay offers his support much to the chagrin of the others. But as Matthew narrates, there is a reason for all of this.

This is a family saga spanning over decades. The timeline is unclear as Matthew narrates his parents’ lives before they met as well as their childhood and after. It jumps between timelines and narratives. But it does all meet in the end to make some sort of sense. Sadly, the book lost me. The writing attempts to be poetic but feels laborious in parts. Zusak uses similar short sentences and structure akin to the Messenger but the story doesn’t flow at a similar pace. It is slow and some of the references and metaphors make little sense. This book took Zusak over a decade and while I do not want to undermine his effort, as a reader, it felt like each sentence had been overthought to the point where it lost the reader in parts.

Of course, I am very aware I’m in the minority given the book has received critical acclaim and won literary prizes but sadly, it just didn’t do it for me. I love books about dysfunctional families and do enjoy stories spanning over decades. But somehow, the writing overshadowed the story and makes the reader literally lose the plot on occasion.

My rating:

Where to find the book:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | Kindle

Where to find the author:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

***Read and reviewed for the 2019 Aussie Author Challenge***

Until next time,

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  • Shalzmojo
    25 March 2019 at 2:14 pm

    Ouch!!! I had felt disappointed when I began reading the Messengars – couldnt read more than 20 pages of that book. I had seen this book in Bombay in that exotic bookstore we had meandered into but was wary of picking it up. Now reading your review, am glad I didnt.

    I havent found his writing to be close to Book Thief ever after – that book is just sublime and I have wondered if these two are written by the same author. Did you feel like that too?
    Shalzmojo recently posted…#BookReview – A Court of Thorns & Roses / Fantasy FictionMy Profile

  • Simon Falk
    25 March 2019 at 8:01 pm

    Thanks for this, Sanch. It’s on my to read pile and I loved The Book Thief. I also liked The Messenger. As I reader, I too, struggle with shifts in times and narratives.
    Simon Falk recently posted…I Dreamed An Angel of LightMy Profile

  • Shilpa Gupte
    26 March 2019 at 11:09 pm

    I did read this review in one of our book blogger’s blogs, and found the story quite interesting. Lets hope I find this one someday at my book shop. 🙂
    Shilpa Gupte recently posted…A cool recipe for the hot summer.My Profile

  • Esha M Dutta
    27 March 2019 at 8:25 pm

    Oh, no! Wish I had read your review earlier! I’ve been meaning to start the book ever since I bought it last month especially after being bowled over by The Book Thief! Thanks for sharing your honest review, Sanch.
    Esha M Dutta recently posted…Four Haikus and a Free Verse | #WorldPoetryDayMy Profile