Bridge of Clay is Markus Zusak’s, author of The Book Thief, most recent novel. Marketed as a young adult novel, this story is a very smart look at five brothers, their mother and father, and a few of their close friends and neighbors.
Bridge of Clay reveals its story through bits and pieces of their history, present, and future over time. The characters are viewed as caricatures of themselves, and the descriptions that fill these pages are not common descriptors. Zusak is able to give emotion and energy to characters in a unique and sometimes grotesque way.
I loved Penny’s character. Her passion for everything she does is clear throughout the story, and she brings her a-game whether she is good at what she does or not. I love passionate people, and it felt good to see her struggling and succeeding through the eyes of the boys.
Clay’s role in the story felt choppy and constantly unsure of itself. Given the context of trauma, this makes sense, as the narrative of a person surviving trauma is often very halting and not always rooted in reality. His story, however, was perhaps my least favorite of the over-arching narrative. I definitely developed empathy for him and the experiences he faced, but I don’t think I liked him and I didn’t find his story overly intriguing.
I can see many readers not enjoying it as the writing style is far out there and there’s not a lot of action moments, rather much of the plot is relived through the course of the book from a perspective of one of the boys. This felt fine for me to read, but I didn’t fall in love with the story, and I definitely couldn’t find myself rereading this.