Hello humans! Anyone who has ever checked out one or two of my Top Ten Tuesday posts will probably be aware of my love for The Book Thief, an exceptional title that you should definitely pick up if you haven’t read it yet. I’ve read it many times and wept every single time. Understandably, I was incredibly excited to read Marcus Zusak’s much anticipated next novel Bridge of Clay. I went into this book with no expectations, I don’t think I’d even read the blurb – and I’m here to share my thoughts – because I have a fair few of them.
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, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome?
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This book. This. Book. I veered from loving it to hating it, to it breaking my heart in two and stomping all over it. In hindsight, I should have seen that coming – given what happens every time I read The Book Thief.
I think one of the reasons I didn’t like this as much as I liked the former book was because I couldn’t relate as much to the main characters, teenage boys. I have read books with male protagonists that I have enjoyed but I prefer a female protagonist if I’m given the choice. As the story unfolds, however, what becomes apparent is that this story is not just centred on these young men, but also on the women who shaped what they became. Those were the parts of this story that spoke the most to me personally, but there are so many different ideas and characters woven into this narrative that I imagine every reader would be able to take away something entirely different.
This isn’t a fast read. At 464 pages in hardback, it isn’t that long but it isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. It took me a little while to get into the story properly, Marcus Zusak is very good at bouncing around in time, giving you different pieces of the narrative at different times, a throwaway comment on one page may become something hugely significant even a hundred pages later. While that makes for incredibly satisfying (and don’t forget heartbreaking) reading later on in the book, it makes the early pages stupendously confusing. My advice, stick with it, give yourself the time and space to let your brain absorb the information you’re given, trust me it’ll all make sense eventually.
This review is incredibly difficult to write, largely because I can see that this story is going to be pretty polarising. Some people are going to love it, some people are going to loathe it. Personally, upon reflection, I’ve decided I loved it. I think it’s a book that requires a re-read, which was also true of The Book Thief if I’m perfectly honest. It’s a book that grows on you, a book that you have to read to truly understand. The summary doesn’t do it justice, it honestly needs to be read to be believed.
My rating: 4/5 stars
I received a digital advanced review copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What say you? Will you be reading Bridge of Clay? Let me know in the comments below!