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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

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5,388109808 (4)188
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)

Recently added byJarandel, Rena37, CandaceVan, KellyHewitt, private library, bravomartin, mic_cee, Janelferrara, EllAreBee, bkeane30
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The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough; (4 1/2*)

The Thorn Birds is a sweeping love story set on a sheep station in the Australian outback. At its heart is the ill-fated romance of the beautiful young Meggie Cleary and the handsome Roman Catholic priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart. Forced to choose between the woman he loves and the Church he is sworn to, Father Ralph's ambitions win and he stays with the Church giving up his love. He eventually becoming a Cardinal in Rome.
De Bricassart never realizes that Meggie's bright young son is his child. Even when the boy comes to Rome to study for the priesthood Father Ralph has no clue. After the boy's tragic death Meggie must choose between her own comfort and the independence of her beautiful but willful daughter who is a talented actress.
McCullough's Thorn Birds, at over 700 pages, details the private lives of three generations of the Cleary clan over a 55 year span. It paints a very real portrait of the trials and rewards of life in the Australian outback on a sheep ranch and of one woman's doomed love for a man who would always be beyond her reach. ( )
1 vote rainpebble | Aug 25, 2016 |
This is the greatest love story and love triangle of all time. Not only is this book a love story of the heartbreaking kind, it is also great historical fiction. While reading you can almost hear the Irish brogues and feel the searing heat in the outback. This book is one of my top 5 books of all time. I re-read it every 4-5 years. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Aug 20, 2016 |
loved the book,loved the movie! ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
In this timeless saga of family secrets and lost love in rural Australia, young Meggie's family is summoned by her aunt to take over the running of a prosperous sheep farm in the Australian outback. It seems like a sweet deal, but no one is prepared for the effects of drought, the church, family secrets, war, wealth and forbidden love.

My first read-through was probably in my mid-teens (a copy stealthily "borrowed" from my mother's nightstand), when I was absolutely entranced and couldn't get enough. While I would now rate it four rather than five stars and didn't find the romantic relationships quite as compelling (one in particular actually now seems borderline creepy), I still love The Thorn Birds for its sheer depth of story. Never tempt fate. ( )
  ryner | Jul 18, 2016 |

“When we press the thorn to our chest we know, we understand, and still we do it.”

Apparently this is another highly-regarded book I don't get the appeal of. I'd been excited to read this for awhile, and when I started it, my mother told me my aunt loved the movie. Not knowing the story, I had high hopes.

This is basically what happened when I read The Thorn Birds:

First 10 pages - Strange family, love the writing style, awesome.
First sixty pages - Interesting conflicts between characters who stand out, I'm intrigued
First 150-200 pages - Hard lives, brutal times. I'm hoping something new will happen soon....where's the next plot point?? I'll pick up again later.
Another hundred pages - Oh, no! Sad moment. Otherwise...Dare I say I'm getting bored? Need patience, need patience
Another hundred pages - Still boring and I'm reading it slow. I hope there's some big point to all this eventually. It's dragging.
Another hundred pages - I'm starting to feel like this will never end. Something mildly interesting happens, then we have to hear about it for fifty pages, dragged out and little emotion.
Another hundred pages - really, that's it? I hate these people.

Basically it starts okay, but the ultimate "plot" is through the lives of bitter people who never reach for happiness or more than the hands life deals them with. They're miserable, they know they'll never be happy, they accept it and drift through the pages and events with no emotion. The end just shows the same thing - life sucks, then you die. You love sons more than daughters. It's inevitable to fall in love and have it destroy the life in you, oh well. Eventually you don't care about anyone anymore. Oh well. There's the land, but it doesn't matter in the end either, oh well.

I don't even get the "romance." It felt flimsy to me at times, frustrating at others. My favorite character was probably Paddy and Frank, but any charm with them is wiped away early to pave way for robots.

I didn't need to read almost 700 pages of that. So little happened in these pages after the first 200 or so. At the end I kind of ended up hating the characters anyway and couldn't wait to say goodbye.

This will be another time I'm in the unpopular group, but oh well - life apparently sucks, especially if you have the lives these characters do.

( )
1 vote ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
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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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