- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 917 KB
- Print Length: 560 pages
- Publisher: Picador Australia (9 October 2018)
- Sold by: Macmillan (AU)
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07BF758BG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews:
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,756 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
This price was set by the publisher.
Bridge of Clay Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 592 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration. Add narration for a reduced price of $2.99 after you buy the Kindle book.
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If The Book Thief was a novel that allowed Death to steal the show... [its] brilliantly illuminated follow-up is affirmatively full of life. (Alfred Hickling Guardian)
The wait is over. (New York Times)
This vast novel is a feast of language and irony. There is sly wit on every page... it is hard not to fall a bit in love with it. (Michael McGirr Sydney Morning Herald)
Bridge of Clay has been more than a decade in the making, and it shows: The characters are clearly loved, and the artistry of language will leave you gasping at times. (New York Times)
About the Author
MARKUS ZUSAK is the bestselling author of six novels, including THE BOOK THIEF. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, to both popular and critical acclaim. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.
Find Markus on his blog www.zusakbooks.com
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Markus' manner of placing words with such craft proves he is exactly that: a wordsmith worthy of the name.
The characters, the storyline, weave in and out, pulling you along, pulling you into their world. The house full of boys, the donkey, the river bed and bridge; I can still see them, hear them and cry with them, several months after finishing the book.
On my RECOMMEND list.
This book is about the Dunbar boys a riot who live with an assortment of animals including a donkey all have names taken from Greek mythology. There are some really insightful vignettes as we build up the story of the parents, their loves and losses.
There are many themes throughout the book and there is a lot of connections to the classics. These could form a study if the reader is inclined. Another major theme is horse racing. I am reasonably aware of Australian horse racing and this is required to appreciate that part of the story to its fullest but doesn't detract either.
The largest theme is the comparison of Clay to Michelangelo. Probably another source for study to fully appreciate.
The author uses flashback to gradually tell the story. This becomes tedious and annoying. I became lost and quite often not sure where we were in the story as if there were two mirrors facing each other. At the end I had completely lost the point of the story. But I can see that this is book has many hidden depths which would profit a diligent reader.
Our narrator Matthew writes cryptically, dropping hints of what is to come and interweaving stories from the past and the present, so that we have to work hard to put the pieces together and come up with the story as a whole. This turns what is, in essence, a simple family story into a literary masterpiece. We learn about the boys’ mother Penelope, how she came to leave them, and the part Homer and the piano played in both her life and her death. We learn about their father, his mother Adelle who originally owned the typewriter, his first love Abbey, and how he came to be known as “the murderer”. We find out how Penelope and Michael meet and how, while being opposites, they were a perfect match for each other. Books played a major part in both their lives and the lives of their children. For Penelope, there were Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey, from which Tommy named his pets. For Michael, there was The Quarryman, the biography of Michelangelo Buonarotti, which became Clay’s favorite and with which he wooed Carey. In addition to the books, certain objects keep making an appearance: Adelle’s typewriter, Penelope’s piano, Penelope and Michael’s marital bed, Clay’s peg, and Achilles the mule. And I love this recurring line: “… it was strange to think, but he’d marry that girl one day.”
In his narrative, Matthew speaks directly to us, like he is recounting random memories:
“… here I am, in the kitchen, in the night—the old river mouth of light—and I’m punching and punching away.”
“And what else? What else was there, as we skip the years like stones? Did I mention how …”
“As it was, it started with me, in sixth grade, and now, as I type, I’m guilty; I apologize. This, after all, is Clay’s story, and now I write for myself.”
“Even now, as I punch what happened out …”
“There’s one more story I can tell you now, before I can leave you in peace.”
The book is beautifully formatted, with parts made to look like they were actually written with a typewriter. Each section contains one more element, building upon those in the previous sections and revealing a little bit more each time. The author interweaves four romances (three tragic and one happy) and writes in rich metaphors, the most obvious of which is the bridge bringing Michael back to his boys. Even though the language the author uses is simple, the construction and content are complex. He masterfully captures the Aussie vernacular and the Aussie spirit, and he has the ability to evoke images with a few sparse words:
“I remember how once it rained a whole fortnight, in summer, and we came home deep-fried in mud.”
“There was rain like a ghost you could walk through. Almost dry when it hit the ground.”
The book is full of touching moments described so matter-of-factly:
“They’d brought her in the metronome, and it was one of the boys who said it. I think his name was Carlos. ‘Breathe in time with this, Miss.’”
“… the woman inside was weightless. The coffin weighed a ton. She was a feather wrapped up in a chopping block.”
“She was famous for winning a Group One race, and dying the very next day—and Clay was the one to blame.”
“He was a great horse,” she went on, “and the perfect story—we wouldn’t love him so much if he’d lived.”
“She would never see us grow up. Just cry and silently cry.”
And, once again, as in "The Book Thief", Death makes an appearance as a character:
“She’d started leaving us that morning, and death was moving in: He was perched there on a curtain rod. Dangling in the sun. Later, he was leaning, close but casual, an arm draped over the fridge; if he was minding the beer he was doing a bloody good job.”
“It was in there, out there, waiting. It lived on our front porch.”
Beautiful, poignant, memorable.
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, violence.
Top international reviews
Events start somewhere in the middle before reversing a little way down the road and steering toward the beginning of everything, and beyond.
With such random changes of direction I was initially concerned where this journey was headed. Turns out I needn’t have been, as it’s filled with places that are breathtakingly beautiful in the time that proves punishingly short for some. Yet miraculously the memories are utterly wonderful.
It didn't take long to become entangled in the wreckage of the Dunbar boys, all five of them, with their extremes and menagerie of classically named pets. They possess a tragic endurance that’s as natural and exclusive as their fingerprints.
And I couldn’t help but love each and every one of them, particularly Matthew Dunbar’s first person narration which is composed, patient and perfection itself. I didn’t see the emotional hazards until they hit me right between the tear ducts – repeatedly.
All of his characters, in this book and his others are so well drawn and developed. His descriptions so spare and yet they say everything you need to know.
His stories always end in a complete, satisfying way. I will never forget the Dunbar boys or the beautiful Clay.
Evoking sadness, giggles, disgust, disbelief and a morbid fascination with how the story was evolving both into the future and from the past.
A truly inspirational use of language and a frankly disturbing insight into the way men love - their lovers, their families and themselves. I thoroughly recommend it.
However I would say int he first few chapters I was really struggling and though I wouldn’t like it. I stuck with it and have to say I loved it, it’s a slow burner that creeps up on you, makes you think harder at what you are reading. I felt quite moved in places. Yes it jumps around a lot and some of it I didn’t understand but loved it