Known by The Book Thief, Markus Zusak is an author who is always associated with this work. Is virtually impossible not to compare your launches with this success. Bridge of Clay, his new novel, comes to the bookstores with this in-built comparison even in the disclosure, but its theme is nothing like the old book.
Bridge of Clay does not present a plot written by death – even though some tragedies wrap the main events. Nor does it show lives hindered by war, but by daily life itself.
Accompanying the life of the Dunbar family, the plot is told by the older brother, who after adult decides to tell the story of him and his 4 brothers. Throughout the non-linear narrative, the reader gradually discovers the details of the story. The Dunbar brothers were abandoned by their father after his mother’s death. Years later, the patriarch decides to return to ask for help to build a bridge in his city and when Clay decides to help him, ends up intertwining the lives of all, literally and metaphorically building a bridge that will allow access from one city to another.
Bridge of Clay ends up having a very everyday plot. Showing nothing more than the life of the family – and some people who are linked to them – the book goes from beginning to end dictating from his father’s childhood, his marriage to his mother to the present day. It is nothing more than life as it is, with its ups and downs and the small attitudes that influence everyone around us.
The only problem lies in the branched way that Zusak chose to write the work. It is customary to see narratives that go from present to past to better explain situations, but here, the author chooses to show different times not only between chapters, but between paragraphs. At one point you are telling what happens in the present, in the family kitchen, then go to the past or the near future to explain another subject, and then return to the main event. This narrative makes it difficult to read at the beginning, in addition to weighing against the interest of the reader, since the confusion created in the mind with so many back and forth discouraged.
By half of the work the narrative becomes customary and the curiosity to know more about the family life wins, and then the book becomes in fact interesting.
Bridge of Clay shows a beautiful and tragic story of a family. Without artifice or a central mission, the plot only follows ordinary lives and teaches about life’s problems. For those who get accustomed to the strange back and forth of writing, it’s a great work.