Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Let me tell you about our brother.
The fourth Dunbar boy named Clay.
Everything happened to him.
We were all of us changed through him.
The Dunbar boys bring each other up in a house run by their own rules. A family of ramshackle tragedy – their mother is dead, their father has fled – they love and fight, and learn to reckon with the adult world.
It is Clay, the quiet one, who will build a bridge; for his family, for his past, for his sins. He builds a bridge to transcend humanness. To survive.
A miracle and nothing less.
Markus Zusak makes his long-awaited return with a profoundly heartfelt and inventive novel about a family held together by stories, and a young life caught in the current: a boy in search of greatness, as a cure for a painful past.
So Bridge of Clay was one of Pageturners’ most liked books for the year – scoring ratings of 3 to 4 ¾ out of five.
There was so much to talk about – the boys, the animals, the classical Greek references, the parents, their childhoods, Penelope’s father, Michael’s first wife, the teacher, Clay’s relationship with Carey, the horse racing, the running, the fighting and of course building the bridge.
Comments included “beautiful, sparse, heart-breaking, lovely once you got the hang of the rhythm, loved it, really liked it, loved the boys, lots of little sentences, short chapters, took awhile to get used to the style, it was hard to get into, most devastated by Carey’s death, I felt like we were given a private discussion about the family, it was everything I could have hoped for and more, she had a message for each of the boys, Clay got her resilience from his mother, the father was weak – he walked out on the boys, it was a bit too repetitive, very autobiographical, very raw and honest, the language – the simplicity of the language, Clay felt he needed to be punished, Penny was a remarkable character, she took a long time to die – that went on too long, there was a lot about fate, everything happens for a reason, there was a lot of love in the family, they were dysfunctional, no – they were just boys, I want to read more about Michelangelo, I read about the Pont Du Gard, I want to read Homer, I re-read the beginning so I could make sense of it, it was a bridge of past and present, the bridge mended the relationship with the boys, I really enjoyed the characters of the animals, I liked the ending – the last line, it will make a great mini-series. But the comment of the evening was this: “once I got into it – it was a lover’s embrace and I didn’t want to leave it.”
For more about Bridge of Clay and Markus Zusak:
Here is an ABC Radio interview:
Here is a Sydney Morning Herald interview:
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