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Bridge of Clay

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  3,717 ratings  ·  1,052 reviews
The breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance.

At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge—for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 9th 2018 by Doubleday
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Emily May
Oct 02, 2018 marked it as dnf
DNF - 30%

This is the first time in a while that I've actually not finished a book. I should mention that I was one of the few people who liked but didn't love The Book Thief, but I find it hard to believe that Bridge of Clay will be as well-loved as that book. More power to you if you can actually finish and enjoy it.

At times it felt like Zusak deliberately went out of his way to make the story more confusing and difficult to enjoy. It's a painfully cerebral metaphorical wandering through the l
Aug 26, 2012 marked it as to-read
EDIT oct 16: i just wanted to let all 200+ of you know (i mean....where did you all COME from??) that I'm #35 on hold on the 12 copies of this book the vancouver public library is ordering. all the attention this goofy little review has gotten has convinced me to give mr. zusak another shot, so...thanks?

Markus Zusak could write the iTunes User Terms of Agreement and I'd still read it. so yeah, pretty excited for this one!

EDIT omg people stop liking this please i can't believe i keep getting noti
Hailey (HaileyinBookland)
DNF @ 80%

I am so so SO sad about this but, I just had no interest in the story or the characters. I tried the audiobook because it's narrated by the author and I gave it a fair go but I just wasn't into it. I kept telling myself I should at least finish it but I found my attention wandering because I just wanted it to be done, and that's just a waste of precious reading (listening) time. I will definitely try and physically read this and see if maybe that experience will be better but, I really
Jul 05, 2012 marked it as to-read
Shelves: excited-for

Kylie D
Well, what can I say about this book? I found it totally mesmerising! It took a while to get going, but suddenly you find you can't put it down!
It follows the lives of the five Dunbar boys, told from the point of view of the eldest Matthew, but it concentrates on the fourth boy Clay. After their mother dies and their father abandons them, the boys are left to raise themselves in the suburbs of Sydney. Markus Zusak tells a remarkable tale here, the bridge of the title being both physical and sym
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
I won an arc copy of this book in a pub giveaway!

I was really confused in this book, more so in the beginning until I got used to how this was being written. The Bridge Of Clay is a book I will have to revisit time and again to get all of the tidbits that we miss at times. Especially in a book like this; family, sorrow, hope, change, love, death. It's life. It's death. It's a family both past and present. It's something I can't put into words, I just feel it.

Happy Reading!

Mel 🖤🐺🐾
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-books
First of all I must say reading this book is hard work. It is a history of a family presented like a patchwork quilt - a bit here and a bit there, jumping around from person to person, place to place and past to present. Concentration is the key.

Hard work does pay off however and this is a really beautiful book. As the story progresses Zusak's characters start to work their way into your heart and the pages just slip past as you begin to discover just what has occurred. Little things like why t
Raeleen Lemay
Read for Popsugar's 2018 Reading Challenge: A book about death or grief

It seems like most of my favorite authors have written one book I didn't enjoy. For Patrick Ness, it's The Rest of Us Just Live Here, for Andrew Smith it's The Marbury Lens, and for Markus Zusak, who has written two of my all-time favorite novels, it's Bridge of Clay.

I'm thoroughly disappointed that I wasn't able to enjoy this book even a little bit, because The Book Thief and I Am the Messenger are books I could read again
Mar 14, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
UPDATE: happy publication day to the book i have been waiting for since 2012!!!! the fact that this is now officially out in the world makes my heart so happy.


not to be dramatic, but i have been waiting an ETERNITY for this. i would literally sell my soul to have this book right now.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it did not like it
“A murderer should probably do many things, but he should never, under any circumstances, come home.”

🌟 After 11 or 12 years of waiting, you’d think that the author will write the next big thing. Unfortunately he wrote the next big disappointment and I fell from this Bridge of Clay into a sea of disappointment!


🌟 Truth to be told, I wasn’t very interested in the synopsis but October was my Contemporary month and what is better to read than a novel by the highly acclaimed author of The Book Thief
Tilly Booth
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*deep breath* I'm ready to write this review.

Markus Zusak is my all time favourite author and with Bridge of Clay he has just solidified that position further. I fell in love with his writing in The Book Thief and then The Messenger and now with Bridge of Clay. I always tell people that going into his book, don't expect them to be anything alike (except for extraordinary writing) because they are all so individual and different from each other, it's actually kind of amazing.

Bridge of Clay is a
Mar 13, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
That only took, like, a lot of fucking time. But we have a release date.
Five Dunbar boys, the eldest was Matthew (who narrated the story), the fourth was Clay, who seemed to be the most sensitive and socially aware. The youngest was Tommy with Henry and Rory somewhere in between. They lived at 18 Archer Street in the suburbs of Sydney, where Matthew took over the job of caring for his brothers after their mother died and six months later their father left without a word. Their struggles were many, their ways of grieving all different.

Bridge of Clay tells of tragedy
Katie B
Sep 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
The only thing worse than not liking a book is knowing you are probably in the minority with that opinion. I'm left with a feeling of what did I miss? The plot is good but I just could never get into the writing style. I'll go sit in my corner alone now while everyone else has an amazing reading experience. This just wasn't the right book for me but I do hope others enjoy it.

I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway but was under no obligation to post a review.
Shirley Marr
Apr 30, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: aussie-ya
Okay, this space is just going to become a dumping ground of stuff I learn about Bridge of Clay until the book actually comes out and I read it, die and then come back to fill it with a proper review.

Update 20 Nov: From the Markus Zusak Facebook Fanpage Here (worth regularly stalking btw) Markus posts some excerpts from BOC as per below:

(Markus Zusak's own words)'s a small piece or two from Bridge of Clay that I revisit regularly and work on:


... i
Once, in the tide of Dunbar past –
Allyce Cameron
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Je-sus Christ. What a book. For anyone who was worried about this following up on that masterpiece The Book Thief, don’t be. It is amazing and beautiful and heart wrenching and a million other things that I can’t think of right now because I’m so overwhelmed. The first 50 pages or so were a bit confusing and hard to follow but once I got past that I was completely sucked in. Also a word of warning, find a nice private place for the ending, I read this on a plane and it pretty sure the man next t ...more
“Many considered us tearaways.
Mostly they were right:
Our mother was dead.
Our father had fled.

We swore like bastards, fought like contenders, and punished each other at pool, at table tennis (always on third- or fourth-hand tables, and often set up on the lumpy grass of the backyard), at Monopoly, darts, football, cards, at everything we could get our hands on.”

Zusak basically walks you up the steps of a houseful of boys with little introduction. He also designs the physical pages of
Umut Reviews
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally we met with Zusak's new book after Book Thief. He's taken his time, but it was totally worth the wait! Bridge of Clay is about 5 brothers who live alone. Their mother died, and father left. They live in suburbs of Sydney alone. The story is told from the eldest brother's perspective, Matthew. But, the star of the book is Clay, the fourth boy, who is trying to build this bridge. The bridge is physical and symbolic. It takes you 50 pages to get into the book. Suddenly we're thrown into it ...more
Mar 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
okay, i've read it.

what a disappointment. i loved the book thief, as did most people who have read it (even though i read it later than most), and expected something similarly powerful here. instead, i got an overly-long, self-indulgent, emotionally-void collection of pages.

from the beginning, the prose was very heightened and odd, full of strange, colory metaphors that had less an effect for me of adding anything substantial than of inundating me. i'd go through and pick out a well-seasoned sec
Yusra  ✨
honestly i can’t imagine how hard it must have been for zusak to write another book after the IMMENSE success of “the book thief”. like the struggle after the bars have been set so high BY YOURSELF. but I’m 110% here for this book and just. can’t. wait. for release.
★ Jess
May 09, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: dont-own
This was originally going to be released while I was in year 10. Im about to start my second year at uni. Cool.

Come on Markus. We were told this was going to be published on September 1, 2011. Wtf man.

Its September 1 today, and Zusak hasn't even finished writing the book! It still needs to be finished and edited and marketed and shit. I AM SO UNBELIEVABLY DEVASTATED. How can you do this to me Markus? I HATE YOUR FREAKING GUTS.
Wait, no. I
Mar 13, 2018 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
About fuckin time!!! SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS NEWS! And it sounds beautifully heart-wrenching.
I'm probably one of the very few people on this planet who hasn't read The Book Thief or any other Zusak novel, so I had no particular expectations. Knowing how many people loved The Book Thief I wanted to find out if I'll become a Zusak fan myself, therefore I promptly requested this on NetGalley.

Man, oh man, how I struggled in the beginning. The first 50 - 70 pages were hard work, I considered giving up several times, especially dreading 400 pages of the same. I just couldn't get a grip, I cou
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Bridge of Clay follows five brothers as they face abandonment from their father, and the ultimate quest for forgiveness and what it means to be a family. Oh, and building a bridge.

I found this really difficult to read, and I’m unsure if it’s a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ or the other way round. I bought The Book Thief when it was first released (I have the hardback first edition floating around at my mother’s house somewhere)
The anticipation for Markus Zusak's latest novel has been eager to say the least; heightened immeasurably by the 10-year wait. So here it is.

This is the story of the Dunbar family, the parents, the five boys, but most of all the story of #4 child Clay. It's also the story of a bridge that Clay will build for and to his father. And the crux of it all is the why.

I had a few issues with this book, which is why it's taken me almost a week just to decide on a rating. In the end - 3 stars - it was goo
Mar 13, 2018 marked it as to-read
when this comes out, it better be THE BOOK THIEF good and not I AM THE MESSENGER disappointing

I have faith in you Markus Zusak 🙏
I’m still trying to understand what I’ve just read. Suffice it to say, though, I was not blown away. I’m heartbroken. I really thought I’d be.
Cori Reed
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is easily one of the best books I have read this year. The writing is phenomenal. It's a quiet story about family and forgiveness that I will not be forgetting any time soon.
Ron Charles
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novels-about-art
Markus Zusak, the phenomenally popular Australian writer, worked on “Bridge of Clay” for two decades, essentially his whole adult life. Such perseverance is awe-inspiring but risky, for all the reasons this new novel makes plain.

The story — a full-throated paean to sibling affection — is about five brothers raising themselves as best they can. The narrator, Matthew, is just old enough to act as his brothers’ guardian in a town that expresses little concern for the well-being of these abandoned b
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bridge of Clay is acclaimed, prize-winning author Markus Zusak's long-awaited follow-up to the spectacular The Book Thief which was first published in 2006, and while it wasn't as enjoyable as that, there is still much to admire about it. I cannot see it as being as successful, but it will appeal to those who delight in Zusak's inimitable writing style. The story follows the lives of the five Dunbar brothers who live at 18 Archer Street, Sydney, in a house without adults. It charts their struggl ...more
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Support Group for People Who Loved the Book 2 22 Nov 21, 2018 01:35AM  
Bridge of Clay 1 6 Nov 17, 2018 09:07AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine new Zusak books 3 32 Jul 21, 2018 11:31PM  
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Markus Zusak is the author of five books, including the international bestseller, The Book Thief , which spent more than a decade on the New York Times bestseller list, and is translated into more than forty languages – establishing Zusak as one of the most successful authors to come out of Australia.

To date, Zusak has held the number one position at,, the New York Times b
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“It was a Sunday, an arsonist sunrise.” 4 likes
“He, as much as anyone, knows who and why and what we are:

A family of ramshackle tragedy.

A comic book kapow of boys and blood and beasts.”
More quotes…