It’s taken Zusak 13 years to write another book after his bestselling The Book Thief in 2005. This story involves a band of unsupervised brothers, who have been abandoned by their father and whose mother died from cancer some time ago. A ramshackle existence with various stray animals is described in the opening chapters, narrated by the eldest brother, Matthew. But Clay, the second youngest brother becomes the central character. When their father pitches up and asks for help to build a bridge, the small family of boys is thrown into conflict and the bridge becomes a metaphor for the reconnection of the family. Zusak’s narrative style is challenging initially; but as his characters emerge, and the reader becomes hooked, his deft use of words and imagery is fresh and often achingly beautiful. A powerful and ultimately rewarding read.