64 pages 2 hours read

Markus Zusak

Bridge of Clay

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2018

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Important Quotes

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“In the beginning there was one murderer, one mule and one boy, but this isn’t the beginning, it’s before, it’s me, and I’m Matthew, and here I am, in the kitchen, in the night‑—the old river mouth of light— and I’m punching and punching away. The house is quiet around me.”

(Prologue, Page 3)

The first line of the novel grounds the reader in both the uniqueness of the book’s format and the narrator. Matthew outlines the different timelines at work in the novel while introducing himself, establishing suspense by introducing the idea of a murderer in the characters’ midst. The verbal play at work, the use of the word “punching.” is used to describe writing on a typewriter; it is also foreshadowing the violence to come.

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“A family of ramshackle tragedy. A comic book kapow of boys and blood and beasts. We were born for relics like these.”

(Prologue, Page 8)

Matthew sets the tone of the rest of the novel by reducing the family history and family members to simple descriptors. The relics in question are fragments of their father’s past that the boys welcome home in the frame narrative, adding to the eclectic nature of their home and history.

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“A murderer should probably do many things, but he should never, under any circumstances, come home.”

(Part 1, Chapter 1, Page 81)

Matthew foreshadows the rejection and violence to take place later in the novel because of Michael’s actions. This first chapter introduces the concept of Michael as a murderer, having symbolically killed his family by leaving the boys alone. This quote is revisited at the novel’s conclusion after the family has reconciled, adding to the cyclical nature of the story.

Related Titles

By Markus Zusak