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the Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
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the Thorn Birds (original 1977; edition 1977)

by Colleen McCullough

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,241102848 (4)179
Member:yrizaria
Title:the Thorn Birds
Authors:Colleen McCullough
Info:Avon Books (1977), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:philosophy-theology, romance

Work details

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1977)

  1. 10
    Roses by Leila Meacham (miriamparker)
    miriamparker: ROSES, like THE THORNBIRDS, is an epic family saga that you won't be able to put down.
  2. 11
    Random Winds by Belva Plain (shesinplainview)
  3. 00
    Emmeline by Judith Rossner (shesinplainview)
  4. 11
    The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (Fliss88)
  5. 00
    The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (espertus)
    espertus: Another well-written historical romance
  6. 22
    The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (shesinplainview)
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» See also 179 mentions

English (96)  German (3)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (101)
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
Although it is romantic fiction, The Thorn Birds is also an unusually intelligent meditation on love, fate and God. The book asks us to consider how much of life is the the result of the choices we've made, and how much of it is determined long before we are born. Something inborn (instinct?) compels McCullough's legendary birds to impale themselves upon the longest, sharpest thorns that they can find. But when we do the same, "we know, we understand, and still we do it." Indeed we do, but that doesn't stop Meggie from wrestling with God on the question, or for blaming him for many of her misfortunes. By the novel's end, Meggie concludes that she essentially lived the life she chose, much as Ralph did. She is able to make her peace with God. The same can't be said for Ralph, who has used God as instrument of his ambition.
What's also interesting is the way that history repeats itself in the book. Like her mother, Meggie marries a man she doesn't love, bears a child by the man she does love, redirects her love for the father to the child, selfishly ignores her other child, and then -- as if by punishment -- loses the beloved child to a tragic and untimely death. Fate? Bad luck? Or the seeds of dysfunction passing from one generation to the next? The Thorn Birds uses the conventions of romance to as some pretty compelling questions. There's a lot more here than meets the eye. ( )
  SusanReach | Mar 29, 2016 |
A fabulous family saga set in the Australian outback. I didn't want it to end. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
A fabulous family saga set in the Australian outback. I didn't want it to end. ( )
  GeneHunter | Mar 13, 2016 |
There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. from the moment it leaves the nest it searches for thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. and, dying, it rises above its own agony to out carol the lark and the nightingale. one superlative song, existence the price. but the whole world stills to listen, and God in his heaven smiles. for the best is only bought at the cost of great pain... or so says the legend. ( )
  mrsdanaalbasha | Mar 12, 2016 |
Oh how I loved the TV series but I also loved the book and if I remember correctly, I loved the book more.

Wasn't there another book after this one? I know it was about a priest who fell in love but forgot most of it except that I loved it. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 96 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCullough, Colleenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Binchy, MaeveIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Christiansen, IbTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lagerström, BertilTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain. ... Or so says the legend.
Dedication
for 'big sister' Jean Easthope
First words
On December 8th, 1915, Meggie Cleary had her fourth birthday.
Quotations
"If she was capable of it, surely once or twice her guard would have slipped; surely once or twice she would have experienced a pang of something more than tolerant affection for her infrequent lovers. It didn't occur to her that she deliberately chose lovers who would never threaten her self-imposed detachment, so much a part of herself by now that she regarded it as completely natural."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
VIRAGO EDITION:
Sometimes when he didn't know he was being watched Meggie would look at him and try desperately to imprint his face upon her brain's core...And he would turn to find her watching him, a look in his eyes of haunted grief, a doomed look. She understood the implicit message, or thought she did; he must go back to the Church and his duties. Never again with the same spirit, perhaps, but more able to serve. For only those who have slipped and fallen know the vicissitudes of the way...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380018179, Paperback)

Now, 25 years after it first took the world by storm, Colleen McCullough's sweeping family saga of dreams, titanic struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback returns to enthrall a new generation. As powerful, moving, and unforgettable as when it originally appeared, it remains a monumental literary achievement—a landmark novel to be read . . . and read again!

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:17 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

The epic story of a priest torn between God and human passion and a beautiful girl desiring only what she cannot have, spanning five decades of ambition, fear, longing and revenge, and set against the vast horizons of Australia's Outback.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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