The B&N Podcast: Markus Zusak on the Struggle to Build “Bridge of Clay”

Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

After Markus Zusak’s award-winning 2005 novel The Book Thief became an international bestseller, his legions of readers were eager for the next book from the Australian novelist. Their patience has finally been rewarded with Bridge of Clay, the epic-scale story of a family wrestling with inherited traumas and unpredictable tragedy, a clan of brothers as thick as thieves and as prone to fighting as — well, any household of young men. And when we say “epic scale” by the way, we mean it: Bridge of Clay is a book steeped in the stories of Achilles, Hector, Paris and Odysseus. When he joined us in the podcast studio for a fascinating conversation about the challenge he faced, Markus Zusak talked about the unusual process of creating a story with a structure he calls “tidal.”


An unforgettable and sweeping family saga from Markus Zusak, the storyteller who gave us the extraordinary bestseller THE BOOK THIEF.

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?

Explore all books by Markus Zusak

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Photo of Markus Zusak (c) Michael Lionstar