Bridge of Clay Review

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Markus Zusak (MZ) is the author of two books on my all-time favorite list so when I found his newest release during a Barnes n Noble browsing it was quickly added to my shopping cart.  

Zusak is the author of the award-winning novel, The Book Thief as well as I Am the Messenger (probably my absolute favorite of his). But we aren’t here to talk about those today. Today’s blog is all about Bridge of Clay.

“In the beginning, there was one murderer, one mule and one boy…”

Bride of Clay is a story about the 5 Dunbar boys, most notably the fourth, Clay. Clay the boy who will build a bridge. 

I will have to say that this book was a bit slow-paced and it is looooong, almost 600 pages, and with it starting off slow it took me a while to get into it. Including a lot of patience on my end but I knew I didn’t want to stop because I love MZ’s writing style. Although, his style is also the reason this book ended up being this long.

The way he writes incorporates details in a way that is different than other books and in use takes longer than average explaining something which can feel, at times, tedious. 

“The sun was some sort of barbarian, a Viking in the sky.”

One thing for me that makes MZ a fantastic writer is his command of language. If you are a lover of language than his books are for you. His sentences have a very poetic feel and are often used to both rip your heart out and stitch it back up at the same time. It is writing to where sometimes you just have to stop and admire a sentence because it takes your breath away.

Compared to his other books I’ve read I will have to say it is my least favorite. The extensiveness of the book created some confusion as the plotlines shift around a lot and I don’t feel that it allowed for enough cohesive detailing in any specific one. 

In total there are maybe 10 characters that this book delves into pasts for and I for one had to reread pages a few times over to keep up.

 Similar to his The Book Thief, Death as its own character makes a return in Bridge of Clay, for good or bad. Which is all I will say since, spoilers.

“It was in there, out there, waiting. It lived on our front porch.”

I felt the narration fell a bit flat compared to his other novels because, for me, it was harder to connect to Matthew as a character and the narrator. I felt we saw little of him as his own intricate character. Despite the novel being centered around Clay and not Matthew, I would have liked to have had more glimpses into him. 

MZ also used Homer’s novels The Odyssey and The Illiad as both allusions and physical objects throughout the book which were intriguing and I felt were tied well into the other plot points as a whole. For those who know me they know, I am a lover of anything involving Ancient Greek Heroes so I very much appreciated this detail. 

In whole, I enjoyed the plot of the novel and my read but I do not think this will be one of his that I reread over and over again.

“That bridge was made of him.”

Let me know in the comments if you have read one of his books and which is your favorite.


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