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Children’s Books: Five Brothers, Abandoned

For fans of Markus Zusak, it’s been a long 13 years. In 2005, the Australian writer dazzled readers and secured a perch on best-seller lists with “The Book Thief,” a haunting, inventive story set during the Holocaust and chronicled by Death himself. Then Mr. Zusak went dark as far as his public was concerned; year followed year and no new books appeared. In that hiatus, we now know, he was toiling on a new novel with a comparatively prosaic setting and narrator—it’s a family saga situated in Australia, as told by the eldest son—yet this book too is a stunner. Devastating, demanding and deeply moving, “Bridge of Clay”…

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