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The Thorn Birds is a robust romantic saga of a singular family the Clearys It begins in the early part of this century when Paddy Cleary moves his wife Fiona and their seven children to Drogheda the vast Australian sheep station owned by his autocratic and childless older sister; and it ends than half a century later when the only survivor of the third generation the brilliant actress Justine O'Neill sets a course of life and love halfway around the world from her rootsThe central figures in this enthralling story are the indomitable Meggie the only Cleary daughter and the one man she truly loves the stunningly handsome and ambitious priest Ralph de Bricassart Ralph's course moves him a long way indeed from a remote Outback parish to the halls of the Vatican; and Meggie's except for a brief and miserable marriage elsewhere is fixed to the Drogheda that is part of her bones but distance does not dim their feelings though it shapes their livesWonderful characters people this book; strong and gentle Paddy hiding a private memory; dutiful Fiona holding back love because it once betrayed her violent tormented Frank and the other hardworking Cleary sons who give the boundless lands of Drogheda the energy and devotion most men save for women; Meggie; Ralph; and Meggie's children Justine and Dane And the land itself; stark relentless in its demands brilliant in its flowering prey to gigantic cycles of drought and flood rich when nature is bountiful surreal like no other place on earthFirst Edition Jacket

10 thoughts on “The Thorn Birds

  1. says:

    There could be thirteen million things to write about this book but since I'm 'retired'only writing abbreviated reviews I'll try to make this short This novel must have been one of the most scandalous talked about novels to hit the book shelves back in 1977 And it was a FINE read these past few days By FINE I mean a VERY ADDICTIVE compelling engrossing WONDERFUL readan epic that stretches our hearts beyond the Outback regions of Australia TidbitsThe relationship between Father Ralph de Bricassart and Meggie Cleary calls for a lengthy book club discussion in itself Father Ralph says I've known Meggie since she was ten years old only days off the boat from New Zealand You might in truth say I've known Meggie through flood and fire and emotional famine and through death and life All that we have to bear Meggie is the mirror in which I'm forced to view my mortalityA theme that never got off the ground Early in this novel when Meggie was a small child in school with the nuns she became friends with a little black girl Racial tensions between the families grew out of injustice when Meggie had lice in her hair We soon move into part II of the novel All we learned was the black family had to 'move' I thought we'd see 'racial' injustice stories but this novel never followed that pathOne of my favorite characters was Frank 'the way' we discover his where a bouts years later was so darn sad The 'worsening psychosis' news comes with no background story I was left hanging 'too' long Frank was often in my thoughts I wanted of him His love for his mother Fee and only sister Meggie reminded me of 'what's right' in life But I wanted of 'that' too Yet so much tragedy no Peace Frank's father Paddy while growing up Sad just sadMary Carson sister of Paddy Meggie's father was one hell of a nice lady ha A narcissistic snake lolThe good die young was the only sentence that brought me to tears the scene with Dane was pretty emotional and that damn sentence the good die young is once of those sentences that can piss me off fast if in 'the moment' of grief My dad died young I'm not sure I find that sentence comforting 'at all' Justine As unfair as I felt she was 'emotionally' loved by her mother Meggieshe was my least favorite character in the book too And for no real reason she didn't do anything wrong I did like her relationship with her brother but I was too interested in other characters I could go on and on and onIt's filled with drama tabu themes forbidden love angst secrets love family marriage illness death loyalty money religion sex heartbreaking and affirmative gorgeously written master storytelling Thanks for all the many friends here who encouraged me to read this I'm thrilled I did

  2. says:

    I would give this all the stars in the sky if I could This was simply the best book I've ever read This might sound strange but I crave a book that is going to ruin me for all other novels to come And this was it Something in my greedy little reader paws wants a book that is going to destroy me Wreak havoc upon me Do you know what I am talking about? Well maybe you don't HmphThis story lifted my heart and made my soul come alive I felt as if the characters ingratiated themselves to such an extent in my very being that I had sensations of them dancing upon my soul With that being said there is something that you must know and accept before beginning this novel These events would never could never happen in real life Therefore just go with it Enjoy the story Suspend belief Do whatever you need to do because once you do you will have a reading experience unlike any you've ever had before This is a story you will never forget It's memories will be permanently imprinted on my heart forever So what are you waiting for? Why are you still reading this review? Um?Important noteI've recently been informed that this author has supported and condoned the rapes that have been occurring on Pitcairn Island located in the South Pacific I cannot stand by and be silent and I certainly cannot and will not endorse that point of view In fact I think it is horrific If you are interested in finding out information you can view this article that a fellow GR friend shared with mehttpswwwsmhcomauworldpitcairn

  3. says:

    This beaut of a soap opera has been around for decades for excellent reason Epics have been forgotten currently authors satisfy their readers or not as the case may be with smaller stories smaller livesMcCullough has the tenacity to include three generations in this sprawling saga and as family portraits usually tell of differences between the generations PLUS the ties that bind them together to a home this one exactly does that in an extremely entertaining fashionFee marries her second choice not the man of her dreams and becomes pregnant with or less the number of digits one has in both hands; she lives a uiet ironically isolationist existence Her daughter Meggie the protagonist until her daughter takes the helm also suffers her mother's character flaws fate plus genes a maudling story make Her priest Ralph in what is the central love story chooses God over his heart The same is not repeated but is indeed echoed in the last generation as Justine who finally breaks the curse leaves the warmth and monotony of her family in Drogheda to actually take flight follow her instincts which had failed the Cleary women in the pastThere are only 19 chapters in this massive chronology and many events occur mostly random and sometimes poetic but they never fail to surprise There are so many characters all of them you feel actually employ humanity act like actual persons that may have lived There are acts of stupidity and compassion People repress many feelings for personal convictions than for social or familial obligations we seldom don't visit in books such as theseRalph is an idiot for causing so much pain to both he and his love What does that say about organized religion and the crimson clothed of the almighty Vatican? The Clearys though not intelligent mainly because of the collective Irish pauper mentality the patriarchal figure bestows upon his offspring Papa Cleary and Ralph's proxy Luke pretty much F things up for the rest They are however extremely hard workers and this pays off well There are many morals many moments of euphoria and even slight by today's standards snippets of hot erotica You pretty much stand witness to one of the most complex yet endearing pieces of literatureHighlights 1 the death of one of the Cleary boy's via warthog asphyxiation immediately following the death of his father via fiery holocaust 2 Ralph meeting his love at her retreat where she is in isolation is definately one of the most romantic notions I have ever read it is written with the finest sense of what love really is 3 learning what French Letters mean 4 transition from New Zealand to Australia to Rome Greece London Such sprawls indicate that life can expand from its moldy origins to experience infinite possiblities arrive at distal endsI recommend this book for someone not afraid to having a two three week relationship with a soap opera that unlike those on tv does not insult the audience with romantic cliches or expected disasters The novel is organic a testament of lives that experience pain and pleasure The reader only experiences the latter

  4. says:

    ‏‫‭The Thorn birds Colleen McCullough There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life 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 The Thorn Birds is a 1977 best selling novel by the Australian author Colleen McCullough Set primarily on Drogheda—a fictional sheep station in the Australian Outback named after Drogheda Ireland—the story focuses on the Cleary family and spans the years 1915 to 1969 The novel is the best selling book in Australian history and has sold over 33 million copies worldwide Meghann Meggie Cleary a four year old girl living in New Zealand in the early twentieth century is the only daughter of Paddy an Irish farm labourer and Fee his harassed but aristocratic wife Meggie is a beautiful child with curly red gold hair but receives little coddling and must struggle to hold her own Her favourite brother is the eldest Frank a rebellious young man who is unwillingly preparing himself for the blacksmith's trade He is much shorter than his other brothers but very strong Unlike the other Clearys he has black hair and eyes believed to be inherited from his Maori great great grandmother عنوانها «م‍رغ‍ان‌ ش‍اخ‍س‍ار طرب‌»؛ «آخ‍ری‍ن‌ پ‍رن‍ده‌ در ش‍اخ‍ه‌ ای‌ ت‍ن‍ه‍ا»؛ «آخ‍ری‍ن‌ پ‍رن‍ده‌»؛ «پرنده خارزار»؛ «مرغان خارزار»؛ و «م‍رغ‌ خ‍ار»؛ نویسنده کالین مک کالو؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش ماه نوامبر سال 2006میلادیعنوان مرغان شاخسار طرب، نویسنده کالین مک کالو؛ مترجم فرشته طاهری؛ تهران، انتشارات ویس؛ 1367؛ در 791ص؛ چاپ دوم 1368؛ سوم 1369؛ بعدا نشر درسا؛عنوان مرغ خار، نویسنده کالین مک کالو؛ مترجم طاهره صدیقیان رویا صدوقی، نشر مروارید 1369؛ در 368ص؛عنوان پرنده خارزار، نویسنده کالین مک کالو؛ مترجم مهدی غبرایی، نشر نیلوفر 1371؛ در 764ص؛عنوان پرندگان خارزار، نویسنده کالین مک کالو؛ مترجم امیر راسترو، نشر قصه پرداز 1379؛ در 568ص؛عنوان مرغان شاخسار طرب، نویسنده کالین مک کالو؛ مترجم تیمور قادری زهرا قادری، نشر ابرسفید 1391؛ در 736ص؛در پهنه ی گیتی مرغکی است که تنها یکبار در زندگی خویش آواز میخواند؛ آوایی دلنشینتر از آواز هر مخلوق دیگری در گستره خاک؛ از آن دم که ترک آشیانه میگوید خاربنی را میجوید، و تا آن را نیابد، آرام نمیگیرد؛ چو آن را یافت، در میان شاخسار گزنده مینشیند و میخواند، و خود را بر فراز بلندترین و تیزترین شاخه ی خار مصلوب میکند، و در واپسین لحظه های زندگی در سوگ خویش بلند آوازتر از بلبل و چکاوک نغمه سرایی میکندداستان دختری به نام «مگی» است که عاشق کشیشی به نام «رالف» می‌شود و در اثر یک رابطه جنسی از «رالف» پسری به دنیا می‌آوردتاریخ بهنگام رسانی 19071399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا شربیانی

  5. says:

    Oh my fucking God This book I was standing in the kitchen this morning angrily chopping veg and I couldn't work out why then I realised it was this book just making me irrationally angry when I wasn't even reading itTragedies within the first 50 pages let's list them1 She gets a lovely doll15 Doll is trashed2 She gets sent to school at last25 School is terrible she's beaten every day3 It's ok she makes an awesome friend35 Friend hates her fuck you nits4 She realllly wants a blue teaset45 Family gets themselves into debt buying it she no longer wants it and it brings her no joy5 I'm allowed to go to Church with the others55 Fuck Church is boring I will never achieve spiritual fulfillment6 My parents don't love me but my brother does 365 My brother has tried to run off to War and is now irreparably brokenThat was basically the whole book over and over again There was some shit about how priests should be allowed to marry because what is God if not Love and some other stuff about being married to the land and where babies come from but it was mainly a series of setting up good things and then knocking them over again like a game of tragic bowlingAt one point they meet the priest he is like fuck your hair is sexy darlin' ignoring the fact she is Nine He lusts after her for the rest of the book but he is Married to God and the author takes pains to mention how he can never get it up several times Apart from about 4 days in a honeymoon hotel bareback where he never again considers he could have made her pregnant even when being faced with his own son for several hours a day for 10 years Nobody ever says fuck man he looks just like you and never once does he think You know she left her husband right close to when this kid was conceived right about the time of those 4 days in a honeymoon hotelOh man I'm not going to go into it Don't read it Please

  6. says:

    This was a reread for me and just as enjoyable the second time around

  7. says:

    I've wanted to read this book for years but I'm glad I waited till I was at a stage in my life when I might appreciate it the most though it wasn't deliberate I didn't know anything about the story before I started except that it's a classic Australian novel epic in scope and was made into a mini series or something starring Rachel Ward years ago I like not knowing much about books before I read them though it leaves you wide open for the story to be told and absorbedThis is indeed an epic book It spans three generations of the Cleary family focusing mostly on Meggie Starting in New Zealand on the day of her fourth birthday The Thorn Birds follows the large family of Paddy and Fee and their children Frank Bob Jack Hughie Stuart Meggie and baby Hal as they sail to Australia at the invitation of Paddy's wealthy land owning sister Mary who intends him to inherit the vast estate of Drogheda in northwest NSW Even by Australian standards it's a big farm 250000 acres 80 miles across at its widest point home to over 100000 merino sheepThe Clearys who had been poor farmhands in NZ fall in love with Drogheda and learn the ways of the land the climate the weather the animals pretty uickly The book is divided up into 7 sections titled Meggie 1915 1917; Ralph 1921 1928; Paddy 1929 1932; Luke 1933 1938; Fee 1938 1953; Dane 1954 1965; and Justine 1965 1969 These provide a slight focus but the only characters who really dominate the story are Meggie Ralph the Catholic priest who falls in love with her and Justine Meggie's daughter by LukeThere is definitely tragedy in this book but I never once found it depressing It is similar in its structure to Gabriel Garcia Maruez's One Hundred Years of Solitude but completely different and successful in a way the latter book was not for me The Thorn Birds made me care Each character is so beautifully rendered as if they were indeed living people whose memories were captured by a light non judgemental hand Every character evoked strong feelings in me which changed as the characters changed Luke for instance I wanted to throttle and ended up pitying Meggie in her naivete was at times exasperating yet she learned and I was proud of her for that then angry for the way she set Dane above Justine Sometimes I absolutely hated Ralph and wanted to smack him; at other times I felt so deeply for him and his emotional turmoilI can't get over how well written this book is It is simply told in an omniscient third person voice only sometimes when needed delving in deeper into the hearts and minds of the main characters to reveal their thoughts and feelings The clashing perceptions people have are accurately portrayed the poor judgements bad decisions mistakes all so life like so real Inferences connections and insights can be deduced from hints in the story but McCullough leaves a lot for the reader to realise on their own And behind it all like a glorious backdrop the gorgeous landscape so vivid and true History and politics are there also two world wars the Depression the Great Drought that ended when WWII ended everything from clothing to attitudes to cars as well as changing Australian slang attitudes the uirks most of it slipping in unobtrusively at other times pivotal to the plotThat there is a plot is undeniable that it is noticeable I doubt very much I don't like to predict stories anyway the only ones I do that to are unavoidable like Steven Seagal movies but there was very little in this book that I could have predicted had I tried Maybe I'm just out of practice but there was no sense of an author dictating or pushing the characters towards certain goals A few things I could see coming like Dane turning out just like his father but even then it felt completely natural not as though McCullough was manipulating the storyIt seems funny reading a book of extreme heat drought flies fire endless silvery grass while outside it's freezing snowing bleak But I was utterly transported and the only thing that jarred my pleasure was the strangeness of seeing American spelling and a couple of changed words amidst the Australian slang Why for instance change nappy to diaper while leaving mum for mom? As an aside in general I really hate it when books from the UK and Australia for instance must undergo an Americanisation before being published in North America whereas when books by US authors are published in Australia it's with the American spelling and all That just doesn't seem fair It seems pretty insulting to the Americans I've talked to actually but also patronising to us I think though regardless of whose decision that was McCullough was writing to an international audience She never intended this book to stagnate in Australia as many works do which are too difficult to understand in other countries She doesn't talk about crutching the dags on the sheep without explaining what crutching means and what dags are or that the big lizards are called goannas and rabbits were introduced to Australia so that it would look a little like England for the homesick settler I know all this but it was still interesting to read about itIf you're interested in reading about Australia or just epic stories in general this is a great book to start with It's not even out of date things change so slowly Just picture stockmen flying helicopters around herds of cattle instead of riding their properties are so humungous The droughts are still there the floods the flies the fires the vernacular though the Catholics have almost disappeared The religion aspect of the novel is eually fascinating and handled diplomatically as well It is a book about ordinary people living ordinary lives and sometimes deliberately causing themselves pain hence the reference to the thorn bird which pierces its breast on a rose thorn as it sings and dies

  8. says:

    In a down reading year an epic family saga was just what I needed to push away the reading doldrums Normally a five star read would merit a long review depicting characters place time and the author's luscious prose The Thorn Birds had all of this and was hauntingly beautiful Yet despite the story of the Cleary family and their parish priest being a much needed tonic for me I am omitting my long review for now That is because The Thorn Birds is our uarterly long read in the group Retro Chapter Chicks here on goodreads My fellow chicks are reading this book over the course of three months and I do not want to inadvertently give anything away here The story of Meggie and Ralph was so captivating; however that I read their saga in three days rather than months It was that good and the bonus is that I have still have three months of group discussions to immerse myself in their story The Thorn Birds has catapulted itself to my all time favorite shelf and will be a saga that I sense myself revisiting than once 5 star read

  9. says:

    I have been consumed by this heart and soul The thorn bird sings only once in its life before impaling itself But the song is so sweet that even God smiles for its song comes at a great sacrifice lifeI’m in utter awe The Australian outback is a harsh land Built for the strongest of humans to survive The Clearys are a large family who’ve migrated from NZ to Australia to manage Paddy’s sister’s sheep station In the isolation of the outback there are few relationships that develop but a young priest takes them under his wing and favours young Meggie as she is but the only daughter of a family of boysThis is a love story One in which a man struggles with his identity as a priest vs his weakness as a man; and the blossoming love for a girl who becomes a woman The realization and the strength Meggie had to know the one true love she has belongs to the churchThe sacrifices that are made; the trade offs never eualA holy saga of life A favourite of my mom’s which is now a favourite of mine5⭐️

  10. says:

    Find all of my reviews at The Thorn Birds is one of those books that might be as great as I remember or it might have been a real turd However it consistently pops up on my feed due to other friends reading it and I felt it was high time to explain my 5 Star rating and Tadiana’s review of a different book added some inspiration Here’s the deal This was the first book I ever stole from my mother It was right after the miniseries came out I was like 8 years old and I sneaky read this sumbitch like nobody’s business Holy inappropriateness Batman As a terrible good Catholic I spent the remainder of my formative years reading and re reading this book attending mass and fantasizing the entire time that I would end up as a “Meggie” to our young priest Father Ralph Rick In all actuality Father Rick was probably interested in one of the altar boys being his Meggie I keeeeeed I keeeeeedNow that I’m a grown up I think I would have ditched ol’ Father de Bricassart and made much sexytimes with Luke O’Neill instead This is a book I can NEVER re read Talk about unrealistic expectations of perfection