The Title Was Already A Pun – A Review of Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

It is no secret that I love The Book Thief. So when I heard that Markus Zusak was releasing another book, I knew I would be buying that.

I can honestly say that I had no idea what to expect of the plot. All I knew before I read it was that the Dunbar family of five brothers were going to experience some conflict, and it was down the the second youngest, Clay, to bring the family back together again.

God, was it more.

I was really curious about this book, as it is marketed as being very contemporary. I’m very selective when it comes to general and contemporary fiction, but I knew I was into something good judging by how deep Zusak would go into his works. I wasn’t wrong. He dives into elements you wouldn’t expect to come out of what he is writing, tying so many things together and making meaning out of seemingly insignificant things and moments. I guess that’s what draws me to Zusak. He takes something you think you’d know everything about, and then he shows you the rest of the iceberg.

Zusak used an interesting choice of structure in the telling of Clay’s story. It certainly wasn’t linear, but parallel. Chapters would switch between the past and the present, and the connections made between them were small but meaningful and gave a grand perspective of things. And it made total sense for it to be written swapping between the two. The situations were very relevant in respect to each other and it built up on the character of Clay a lot.

Speaking of Clay, his character is very interesting. He is very enigmatic at first, but that’s because we don’t know about him. The structure enhances us knowing his drives, insecurities, and connections with his family.

There was one thing I was uncertain of in Zusak’s decisions. I wasn’t entirely sure why it was the oldest brother telling the story. There was obviously some kind of reason behind that and I feel I might have missed it, and I doubt that reason was beyond the connection between him and Clay. I’ve been thinking it over for a while and still haven’t found any other clues.

Character I Loved

I really enjoyed the boys’ mother, Penny. Her drive and her story was all very touching, and she was a very strong character as well. Everything associated with her I fell for.

Character I Loved to Hate

There wasn’t really one of those, but Rory could get pretty annoying at times. It was all intentional, I could tell, but some of the things he did, man.

Favourite Chapter

Chapter 7 was very interesting with the focus on Clay’s love interest, Carey. It was quite the change of scenery and focus that felt pretty nice in my opinion.

Favourite Serious Quote

How many letters to Carey could he formulate, but not yet write?

Well, this was a familiar feeling. This quote stabbed me in the heart with an honest weight.

Favourite Not-So-Serious Quote

I don’t have a favourite, but they’re all to do with their donkey, Achilles.

Overall Verdict

A simple story with a whole lot of depth. Bridge of Clay gets a score of 4/5.

Yours in writing


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