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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 278

Bridge of Clay is a novel by critically-acclaimed and best-selling author Markus Zusak. The book was published in 2018. The novel centers on the lives of five brothers who try to deal with their father's death.

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The main character of the novel, who offers much of the narrative's perspective, is Clay. He becomes obsessed with building the perfect bridge that could withstand the ferocity of a river.

The act of building the bridge is both a literal, physical project of Clay's and a figurative construction of a bridge that connects the past and the future. The bridge symbolizes his family's ability to cross over from the past—marked by their father's death—and towards a bright future.

The novel's title, Bridge of Clay, has a double-meaning. On the surface level, it refers to the actual bridge Clay is making. Symbolically, using wordplay, it is a bridge made of clay. In the beginning, clay is soft and fragile, but later on, it will harden and become a more solid structure.

Clay is also a reference to biblical story of creation. God used clay to create the human species. Likewise, the bridge that Clay is building symbolizes the interconnection of humanity and that it is only through harmony with other people that one can move away from the pains of the past.

An interesting trivia to note is that the author stated in an interview that he has changed as a person since the first draft of the novel, which he began writing nine years before its publication. In this regard, Markus Zusak is similar to Clay, the main character, in that they both grow as people throughout a major undertaking.

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