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The Thorn Birds by by Colleen McCullough
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The Thorn Birds (original 1977; edition 1982)

by by Colleen McCullough

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,615None1,034 (3.99)149
Member:sofiemol
Title:The Thorn Birds
Authors:by Colleen McCullough
Info:Avon books (1982), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough (1977)

20th century (37) Australia (303) Australian (45) Australian fiction (22) Australian literature (20) Catholic (20) Catholicism (31) classic (22) classics (22) epic (23) family (42) family saga (43) fiction (592) historical (45) historical fiction (157) literature (27) love (38) love story (31) New Zealand (19) novel (88) own (34) paperback (18) priests (20) read (80) religion (44) Roman (26) romance (195) saga (33) to-read (55) unread (23)
  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. 00
    Emmeline by Judith Rossner (shesinplainview)
  3. 11
    The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (shesinplainview)
  4. 00
    The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (espertus)
    espertus: Another well-written historical romance
  5. 11
    Random Winds by Belva Plain (shesinplainview)
  6. 01
    The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan (Fliss88)
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» See also 149 mentions

English (75)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (79)
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
An epic love story. ( )
  mlyons1 | Feb 12, 2014 |
I wanted to give the story 4 stars because the writing of character, story line and scenery are brilliant and kept me entranced through the epic lenght of this novel. But honestly, I thought it could've been about 100 pages shorter. While all the characters had their place to some degree, did we really need a whole sidestory about the twins at war, etc etc? And while Drogheda makes a compelling character in and of itself, I could've done without the repetitive descriptions of it and its heinous conditions. The sections were so poorly named I could find no rhyme or reason to them being named after certain characters. Truly an intriguing storyline but I ended it thinking Meggie was a pathetic, miserable brat. So big freaking deal if you're first crush was a priest. Get over him & move on. As if she was the first girl that ever got her heart broken and lost her first love. Pretty much happens to like, hello? All women! Just goes to show money cant buy happiness or emotional intelligence. ( )
  KikiUnhinged | Feb 9, 2014 |
Probably the closest we'll ever get to the quintessential Australian novel. Deservedly resonates in Australian literature as one of the great novels of the 20th century, although it is not perfect, and the flaws become more obvious on subsequent readings. I dont find Meggie Cleary particularly sympathetic or interesting as a lead character. She is annoyingly passive in the first 2/3 of the book, and although she does develop and start to gain literary flesh in the last part, by then I just found it hard to really care what happened to her.. The other characters too tend to be ciphers, they are really just images in the landscape, which is the real hero of the story. I dont know of any other recent Australian novel that has captured, to quote Dorothea McKellar, "the beauty and the terror" of the Outback as well as McCullough does. Her description, for example, of the horror of bushfire is both poetic and terrifying, and as vivid now after a number of re-readings as it was on the first. This, and the book's epic scale, are its real strengths, the reason why its so memorable. Its a still rewarding read. ( )
  drmaf | Oct 31, 2013 |
The Thorn Birds is a true epic. The detail is incredible. You could almost feel the heat, dryness, and wind sweep through Drogheda, the sheep station in Australia, while reading it. However, my favorite part of the book is the characterization. I think it’s a true testament to the writing that at different points of the book I truly loathed the main characters to turn right around 20 pages later and I love them again. They all have major faults yet I could relate to their mistakes and successes. Interestingly enough, the only character I couldn’t relate to, and have no true feelings for, is Dane. He is almost too perfect and his storyline didn’t capture me like Meggie’s, Fee’s, Ralph’s, Paddy’s, Frank’s, and Justine’s.

The Cleary’s story is truly wonderful and the story of Australia during the early to mid 20th century is fascinating. Additionally, the role Catholicism plays a gigantic role in plot along with gender differences make this book more dynamic. The three Cleary women are the highlight of the book for me and their relationships with the men in their life took on a life of their own.

Overall, I LOVED this book. Due to the mini-series, which came out in 1983, many girls were named after Meggie, including myself. However, I’m really glad I waited to this stage in my life to read The Thorn Birds because I don’t think I would have understood the magnitude if I had read this earlier in my life.

Highly recommended but be ready for an emotional rollercoaster. This is not light reading.
( )
  megmo07 | Sep 27, 2013 |
Read because my mother had bought it and thus it was lying around the house when I was in high school. Was very "meh" about it and did not understand why people liked any of these characters.
  bookishbat | Sep 25, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (35 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Colleen McCulloughprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Binchy, MaeveIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Er is een Keltische legende over een vogel die slechts één keer in zijn leven zingt, stralender dan welk ander levend wezen op aarde. Vanaf het moment dat hij zijn nest verlaat zoekt hij rusteloos naar een doornboom. Heeft hij die eenmaal gevonden, dan spietst hij zichzelf tussen de wilde takken op de langste en scherpsste doorn. Stervend sstijgt hij boven zijn doodsstrijd uit in een lied dat dat van leeuweriken en nachtegalen overtreft. Een niet te evenaren gezang dat hij met zijn leven bekoopt. Maar de hele wereldd luistert stil en God glimlacht. Want het beste is alleen ten koste van de grootste smart te verwerven... Zo zegt de legende het tenminste.
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On December 8th, 1915, Meggie Cleary had her fourth birthday.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:28 -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 8 descriptions

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