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Những con chim ẩn mình chờ chết

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Thiên tiểu thuyết có sức ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Colleen McCullough về những giấc mơ, những trăn trở, những đam mê thầm kín, và mối tình bị ngăn cấm ở nước Úc xa xôi đã mê hoặc độc giả khắp thế giới. Đây là biên niên sử ba thế hệ dòng họ Cleary, những người chăn nuôi gia súc từ một vùng đất khắc nghiệt nhưng xinh đẹp trong lúc đấu tranh với nghịch cảnh, sự yếu đuối, và nhữn Thiên tiểu thuyết có sức ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Colleen McCullough về những giấc mơ, những trăn trở, những đam mê thầm kín, và mối tình bị ngăn cấm ở nước Úc xa xôi đã mê hoặc độc giả khắp thế giới. Đây là biên niên sử ba thế hệ dòng họ Cleary, những người chăn nuôi gia súc từ một vùng đất khắc nghiệt nhưng xinh đẹp trong lúc đấu tranh với nghịch cảnh, sự yếu đuối, và những bí mật len lỏi trong gia đình. Quan trọng hơn hết, đây là câu chuyện về cô con gái duy nhất Meggie và mối quan hệ theo suốt cuộc đời giữa cô với linh mục Ralph de Bricassart - một sự hòa hợp của hai trái tim và hai tâm hồn vượt qua những giới hạn bất khả xâm phạm của đạo đức và giáo điều. Một câu chuyện tình chua xót, một sử thi mạnh mẽ về nỗ lực và hy sinh, một sự ngợi ca cá nhân và tinh thần con người, tuyệt tác của Colleen McCullough là một áng văn bất hủ - một cuốn tiểu thuyết mang tính bước ngoặt để được yêu mến và đọc đi đọc lại hết lần này đến lần khác.

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Thiên tiểu thuyết có sức ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Colleen McCullough về những giấc mơ, những trăn trở, những đam mê thầm kín, và mối tình bị ngăn cấm ở nước Úc xa xôi đã mê hoặc độc giả khắp thế giới. Đây là biên niên sử ba thế hệ dòng họ Cleary, những người chăn nuôi gia súc từ một vùng đất khắc nghiệt nhưng xinh đẹp trong lúc đấu tranh với nghịch cảnh, sự yếu đuối, và nhữn Thiên tiểu thuyết có sức ảnh hưởng sâu rộng của Colleen McCullough về những giấc mơ, những trăn trở, những đam mê thầm kín, và mối tình bị ngăn cấm ở nước Úc xa xôi đã mê hoặc độc giả khắp thế giới. Đây là biên niên sử ba thế hệ dòng họ Cleary, những người chăn nuôi gia súc từ một vùng đất khắc nghiệt nhưng xinh đẹp trong lúc đấu tranh với nghịch cảnh, sự yếu đuối, và những bí mật len lỏi trong gia đình. Quan trọng hơn hết, đây là câu chuyện về cô con gái duy nhất Meggie và mối quan hệ theo suốt cuộc đời giữa cô với linh mục Ralph de Bricassart - một sự hòa hợp của hai trái tim và hai tâm hồn vượt qua những giới hạn bất khả xâm phạm của đạo đức và giáo điều. Một câu chuyện tình chua xót, một sử thi mạnh mẽ về nỗ lực và hy sinh, một sự ngợi ca cá nhân và tinh thần con người, tuyệt tác của Colleen McCullough là một áng văn bất hủ - một cuốn tiểu thuyết mang tính bước ngoặt để được yêu mến và đọc đi đọc lại hết lần này đến lần khác.

30 review for Những con chim ẩn mình chờ chết

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ana O

    I gave this book a five-star rating because otherwise my mother would disown me. (How would she know? Mothers know everything.) This is her favorite book/movie/miniseries. My first reaction to hearing this story was to stare blankly, shake my head and think to myself, 'parents have the worst taste in books.' I grew up on Britney, Christina and Backstreet Boys. I survived Twilight. I owned a a bright pink Spice Girls T-shirt that had matching shorts with white hearts (and wore it proudly in publ I gave this book a five-star rating because otherwise my mother would disown me. (How would she know? Mothers know everything.) This is her favorite book/movie/miniseries. My first reaction to hearing this story was to stare blankly, shake my head and think to myself, 'parents have the worst taste in books.' I grew up on Britney, Christina and Backstreet Boys. I survived Twilight. I owned a a bright pink Spice Girls T-shirt that had matching shorts with white hearts (and wore it proudly in public). My future offspring will think I'm the coolest, I just know it. I was wrong about many things, including Thorn Birds. It wasn’t until I saw the miniseries that I understood the beauty of Thorn Birds. Ah, finally I understood what the fuss was all about. Without question I knew what I had to do next. I had to read the book. There was, however, a problem in the process. There was no book. The book somehow ended up in the possession of my cousin. So I kinda, sorta took it from her. (It's not stealing if you're family. I am not a book thief). This was the second time I read this book, and I enjoyed it even more this time around. When I read it a second time, I picked up things that I missed the first time. Also, apparently I misinterpreted the ending, now I finally understand what the author was trying to say. But let's go back a bit. I honestly don't think that I have ever seen a more beautiful opening paragraph. 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. It touched my soul. I think what I love most about the book is its realism. The characters seemed so real, I almost forgot they were fake. There is a part of me that still thinks they exist, somewhere in the Australian outback. If you're looking for a feel-good, disneyesque story, look elsewhere. This book is filled with heartbreaking moments. The characters are hard-working, no-nonsense, and above all, persevering. “You still think love can save us. It’s more killing than hate. Hate is so clean, so simple. Like being in the ring. With hate, you just keep hitting. You hit until they stop hitting back. With love… They never stop.” The main characters. Meggie Cleary. We first meet up with Meggie as a young girl, vying for attention and affection. As the only daughter in a house full of boys, she is often forgotten, overlooked and neglected (with the exception of her oldest brother and father). She is a sensitive child who receives no love from her mother. Meggie's life changes when her father is invited to live and work in the estate of his wealthy sister in Australia. There she meets a man who will become the love of her life. Meggie is a truly tragic figure. Everyone she had ever loved had either left her or died. No matter how much she vowed never to be like her mother, that's exactly what happened. Like her mother before her, Meggie marries a man she doesn't love. Knowingly or unknowingly, she makes the same mistakes with her children as her mother. Had fate played a cruel trick on her? Perhaps so. Depends on your personal beliefs. In a sense Ralph was like God; everything began and ended with him. Since the day he had knelt in the sunset dust of the Gilly station yard to take her between his hands, there had been Ralph, and though she never saw him again as long as she lived, it seemed likely that her last thought this side of the grave would be of him. How frightening, that one person could mean so much, so many things. Ralph de Bricassart. At the start of the novel, Ralph is an ambitious young priest, banished to the outback for insulting a bishop. He befriends the Cleary's, growing especially close with little Meggie. He immediately takes her under his wing, and offers her the love and guidance (in a non creepy way) she so desperately craves. Oh Ralph... He's made mistakes, but it's hard not to feel sorry for him. He is a good man (albeit too prideful) torn between his own love for Meggie and his love for God. It was a constant battle. A battle with no end and no winners. “Meggie, I love you. You’re my rose, the most beautiful human image and thought in my life.” “An image, a thought! A human image and thought! Yes, that’s right, that’s all I am to you! You’re nothing but a romantic, dreaming fool, Ralph de Bricassart! You have no more idea of what life is all about than the moth I called you! No wonder you became a priest!“ “Each of us has something within us which won't be denied, even if it makes us scream aloud to die. We are what we are, that's all. Like the old Celtic legend of the bird with the thorn in its breast, singing its heart out and dying. Because it has to, its self-knowledge can't affect or change the outcome, can it? Everyone singing his own little song, convinced it's the most wonderful song the world has ever heard. Don't you see? We create our own thorns, and never stop to count the cost. All we can do is suffer the pain, and tell ourselves it was well worth it.” To all you romantics out there: read this book (if you haven't already). “When we press the thorn to our chest we know, we understand, and still we do it.”

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    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 read.....an epic that stretches our hearts beyond the Outback regions of Australia. Tidbits.... .....The rel 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 read.....an epic that stretches our hearts beyond the Outback regions of Australia. Tidbits.... .....The 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 mortality". .....A 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 more 'racial' injustice stories - but this novel never followed that path. .....One 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 more of him. His love for his mother, Fee, and only sister Meggie reminded me of 'what's right' in life. But I wanted more of 'that' too- Yet so much tragedy-no Peace Frank's father - Paddy - while growing up. Sad... just sad! .....Mary Carson - sister of Paddy, ( Meggie's father) -was one hell of a nice lady -- ha!!!! A narcissistic snake! lol "The 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- Meggie...she 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, more. I could go on and on and on.....It'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!!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Crumb

    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. Hmph. This story lifted my heart and made my soul come alive. I felt as if the characters ingratiated themselves 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. Hmph. This 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 note** I'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 more information, you can view this article that a fellow GR friend shared with me. https://www.smh.com.au/world/pitcairn...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (Giraffe Days)

    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 absorbed. This is indeed an 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 absorbed. This 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: 250,000 acres, 80 miles across at its widest point, home to over 100,000 merino sheep. The 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 quickly. 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 Luke. There is definitely tragedy in this book, but I never once found it depressing. It is similar in its structure to Gabriel Garcia Marquez'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 turmoil. I 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 quirks - most of it slipping in unobtrusively, at other times pivotal to the plot. That 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 story. It 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 more like England for the homesick settler - I know all this, but it was still interesting to read about it. If 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 equally 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Fabian

    This beaut of a soap opera has been around for decades & for excellent reason. Epics have been forgotten & more readily current authors satisfy readers (or do not, as the case may be) with smaller stories & smaller lives. McCullough 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 This beaut of a soap opera has been around for decades & for excellent reason. Epics have been forgotten & more readily current authors satisfy readers (or do not, as the case may be) with smaller stories & smaller lives. McCullough 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 fashion. Fee marries her second choice, not the man of her dreams, and becomes pregnant with more or less the number of digits one has in both hands; she lives a quiet & 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 past. There 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, more for personal convictions than for social or familial obligations we seldom don't visit in books such as these! Ralph 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 literature. Highlights: 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 ends. I recommend this book for someone not afraid to having a two-three week relationship with a soap opera that, unlike those on t.v., 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nettle

    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 it! Tragedies within the first 50 pages, let's list them. 1. She gets a lovely doll! 1.5 Doll is trashed. 2. She gets sent to school at last! 2.5 School is terrible she's beaten every day. 3. It's ok she makes an awesome friend! 3.5 Friend hates her, fuck you, nits. 4. She realllly wants 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 it! Tragedies within the first 50 pages, let's list them. 1. She gets a lovely doll! 1.5 Doll is trashed. 2. She gets sent to school at last! 2.5 School is terrible she's beaten every day. 3. It's ok she makes an awesome friend! 3.5 Friend hates her, fuck you, nits. 4. She realllly wants a blue teaset. 4.5 Family gets themselves into debt buying it, she no longer wants it and it brings her no joy. 5. I'm allowed to go to Church with the others! 5.5 Fuck Church is boring I will never achieve spiritual fulfillment. 6. My parents don't love me but my brother does. :3 6.5 My brother has tried to run off to War and is now irreparably broken. That 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-bowling. At 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 hotel" Oh man I'm not going to go into it. Don't read it. Please.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brina

    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 quarterly long read in the group Ret 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 quarterly 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 more than once. *5 star read*

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    The thorn birds, Colleen McCullough 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 twentiet ‏‫‭The thorn birds, Colleen McCullough 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 2006 میلادی عنوان: مرغان شاخسار طرب، نویسنده: کالین مک کالو؛ مترجم: فرشته طاهری؛ تهران، انتشارات ویس؛ 1367؛ در 791 ص؛ چاپ دوم 1368؛ سوم 1369؛ بعدا نشر درسا)؛ مرغ خار، طاهره صدیقیان-رویا صدوقی، نشر مروارید 1369 پرنده خارزار، مهدی غبرایی، نشر نیلوفر 1371 پرندگان خارزار، امیر راسترو، نشر قصه پرداز 1379 مرغان شاخسار طرب، تیمور قادری- زهرا قادری، نشر ابرسفید 1391 داستان دختری به نام مگی ست که عاشق کشیشی به نام رالف می‌شود و در اثر یک رابطه جنسی از رالف پسری به دنیا می‌آورد ا. شربیانی

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 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 lik Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/ 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 more interested in one of the altar boys being his Meggie. I keeeeeed, I keeeeeed! Now 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.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Xenia0201

    I think I read this for the first time in 4th grade. (I hid it in my room for a month b/c this is sooo not a book for a 10 year old!!) My father is an ex-Catholic priest who left the church for my mother so when the mini series came out, the world stopped in my house for an entire week. It's an epic saga about an Irish farming family who relocated to Australia to help work at an ailing aunt's ranch. The book spans some 40+ years of hardships they encounter. The only daughter, Meggie, falls in lo I think I read this for the first time in 4th grade. (I hid it in my room for a month b/c this is sooo not a book for a 10 year old!!) My father is an ex-Catholic priest who left the church for my mother so when the mini series came out, the world stopped in my house for an entire week. It's an epic saga about an Irish farming family who relocated to Australia to help work at an ailing aunt's ranch. The book spans some 40+ years of hardships they encounter. The only daughter, Meggie, falls in love with a local parish priest who has ambitions of Rome and is constantly tempted by her seductions. It's a tearjerker of a classic and I'm not ashamed to say I love it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    The Thorn Birds is a beautifully written Australian novel. This story spans over three generations of the Cleary family. It mainly centres around young, Meggie who is the only girl in the family. Meggie's mother only has eyes for her sons which leaves. Meggie feeling very unloved by her mother. Growing up there are many things, Meggie needs to know about life in general, but Meggie knows she can't ask her mother. So Meggie turns to the the local priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart for answers. Ra The Thorn Birds is a beautifully written Australian novel. This story spans over three generations of the Cleary family. It mainly centres around young, Meggie who is the only girl in the family. Meggie's mother only has eyes for her sons which leaves. Meggie feeling very unloved by her mother. Growing up there are many things, Meggie needs to know about life in general, but Meggie knows she can't ask her mother. So Meggie turns to the the local priest, Father Ralph de Bricassart for answers. Ralph is very fond of, Meggie and the more he see her the stronger his feelings become. He can also see that Meggie is also starting to have feelings for him and knows he must put a stop to this before it goes any further. As the story unfolds we see the Cleary family deal with love and loss and with loss comes heartache. I absolutely LOVED this amazing story. This is the first book I've read by, Colleen McCullough and it definitely won't be my last. The descriptions of the places in this book are incredible and you can picture it all so clearly as you are reading. This was a compelling, enjoyable and emotional read. This book took me quite awhile to get through, but it's one of those books that should not be hurried. If you love reading Classic or Historical novels then make sure this one is at the top of your list. I read this book with, Kathy a friend of mine who also loves reading. Although, Kathy read this book quite a long time ago she enjoyed just as much if not more the second time round. A truly memorable book that will stay with me for a long time to come. So if you haven't read this book PLEASE do yourself a favour and read it as you won't be disappointed. HIGHLY recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Shawn the big poppa pump

    The book was a good love story, a young girl and an Irish priest romance together...I think I will read another of Colleen McCullough books...also I would like to see the old television series..

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Two stars for decent writing, zero stars for plot and characters. Everything about the story itself just felt flat and clumsy to me. The only character I found remotely interesting was Justine, and the only romance I cared about was between Justine and Rainer. And that was only in the last seventy-five or so pages. Reading the rest of the book just felt like a chore. I hated Ralph. He seemed manipulative and sketchy and at the same time didn't really feel like a real human being. I was super cre Two stars for decent writing, zero stars for plot and characters. Everything about the story itself just felt flat and clumsy to me. The only character I found remotely interesting was Justine, and the only romance I cared about was between Justine and Rainer. And that was only in the last seventy-five or so pages. Reading the rest of the book just felt like a chore. I hated Ralph. He seemed manipulative and sketchy and at the same time didn't really feel like a real human being. I was super creeped out by his "love" for Meggie. Meggie herself I didn't like at all. She seemed so vapid, and most of her dreams consisted of marriage and babies, babies, babies. Urghhhhh. The dialogue felt stilted and overly formal, even for the time period in which the book took place. The story didn't feel at all real to me. Despite the religious aspects of the book (Ralph is a freaking priest for God's sake) it didn't make me think about religion or spirituality or Catholicism in any meaningful way. So yeah, I'm quite disappointed with this book. I think I'll stick to The Poisonwood Bible and Gone with the Wind and The Legend of the Fire Horse Woman for my family epics.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Armand

    On the face of things, The Thornbirds wears the guise of a romance novel, the story of forbidden love, but that's only the novel's outward guise. I think anti-romance would be a better way to define this novel. In fact- in this way- The Thornbirds reminds me of the pulitzer-prize winning Lonesome Dove which- I would argue- is actually an anti-Western. Both The Thornbirds and Lonesome Dove find the outer reaches of their chosen genres (romance or western) and then push as far as they can, fightin On the face of things, The Thornbirds wears the guise of a romance novel, the story of forbidden love, but that's only the novel's outward guise. I think anti-romance would be a better way to define this novel. In fact- in this way- The Thornbirds reminds me of the pulitzer-prize winning Lonesome Dove which- I would argue- is actually an anti-Western. Both The Thornbirds and Lonesome Dove find the outer reaches of their chosen genres (romance or western) and then push as far as they can, fighting and buckling against the constraints that the genres impose, standing theme and plot on their head and inventing a new world of literature. Both novels result in loaded, epic tomes, like some sort of Biblical whale that swallows everything in its path. So: The Thornbirds is epic (Australian) history, family psychology, feminism, theology, romance and anti-romance and melodramatic tragedy nearing Shakespearian ordinance. Oh, and solid, almost brilliant, use of the omniscient narrator in action. Let's break it down: History: The Thornbirds gives us a panoramic view of the development of Australia from just before World War I through the 1960's including wars, hard times, the development of technology, changing fashions and styles, and changing culture itself. These changes manifest or appear mostly in the background of the novel which is really focused on three generations of women of the Cleary family and the men who (would) love them, but make no mistake, this is also a novel about the land itself and how it is transformed both by nature and by people. In fact, one of the biggest characters in The Thorn Birds is Drogheda, the massive estate (and sheep farm) that plays a major role in the lives of four generations of people. If other parts of the world are transformed by mankind, Drogheda- which sits on the edge of the blazing Australian outback- is that which resists the march of progress. Any progress that comes must trickle in so as not to disturb the blazing heat, endless dust, dry lightning storms, and the needs of 125,00 merino sheep. Colleen McCullough is the author of The Thorn Birds, and as a writer, she brings a lot of good stuff to the table. One is her ability to report on natural and historic detail. Whether its describing an army of rabbits, sheep, "kangas", and emus racing to escape an outback brushfire (possibly one of the most frightening and menacing description of a landscape fire in literature) or describing General Montgomery's army advancing towards a wall of artillery fire in the North African desert (I told you this novel covers a lot of ground), McCullough has a gift for describing the big and small in brilliant, vibrant strokes. Beyond her ability to rend scenery in great detail, McCullough is also very good at presenting characters' inner psyches. I feel like McCullough is a smart observer and reporter of the human condition. Some great examples includes Fionna Cleary's tendency of favoring her boys over her sole daughter, Meg and- even further- favoring her first born son, Frank, more than the others. She does a fabulous job of blending this into the wool of story, showing how a mother's rationed love will effect each set of children differently, give them a different perspective on the world, and how that- in turn- changes other things and so on, a great domino effect. Other examples of this psychological examination include Father Ralph's intractable pride (possibly his greatest sin), or Justine's total fear of serious commitment. These are built elegantly into the plot, but one refreshing things is that McCullough is not afraid to also tell her readers exactly what the case is. She's not afraid to just come out and write a piece of exposition stating that Fionna Cleary has essentially no use or interest in having a daughter, or that Father Ralph will sell people out in his hunger for a career in the church. I think that it takes a certain boldness for writers to just come out and state something in the 3rd person omniscient, but McCullough is capable at pulling it off. Feminism: While not a feminist tract by any means (and that's good because novels that are blatantly political tend to be problematic), Thornbirds is not a story that shirks seeing its female characters developing across the generations. Spanning from proud Fionna who will never question her husband's (Paddy's) will, to Meggie who starts off as everyone's doormat but who eventually builds her own spine, to prickly Justine who is not giving up anything for anyone. McCoullough is smart enough to give each of the Cleary woman their own collection of merits and flaws. None of them are perfect, but it is heartening to see them reflect the slow progress for women since the end of the industrial era, and by the time we get to difficult/ contrary Justine (Meg's daughter) we can forgive her stubbornness because its been earned by the suffering of her mother and mother's mother. I also mentioned that this book is an anti-romance. What does that mean? Well, romance novels have a certain set of conventions that go with them, and we mostly expect them to end happily or with a tragedy that is counterweighed by immense spiritual uplift. True, it does have some hot romantic scenes between the very handsome Ralph and a beautiful Meggie and those scenes are tinged with burning desire and desperation and there is a deep sense of spiritual sacrifice (for Ralph, not so much for Meggie); however, without (hopefully) giving too much away, The Thorn Birds give us neither the happy ending nor the transcendent tragedy. Instead the end is a jigsaw puzzle of bittersweet riddles. It seems, in some ways, everyone gets what they want, but not what they need, and that's not good. So if you always get what you want and not what you need, then your victories ring hollow, or there is a lack of soul in there or something lack that. Ergo, the book bucks the conventions of romance and travels it's own enigmatic route.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I LOVED this book, and until I read the last paragraph I couldn't figure out WHY! What was so utterly unexpected for me is that the reason I love this book is precisely the exact reason I would have hated just yesterday it seems?!!? If that makes ANY sense. I almost feel like I have a different outlook on life than I did one day ago...much less one year ago...but I didn't realize it until THIS book. This book is an impressive tale with all of life's elements present...in fact, it is a tale ABOUT I LOVED this book, and until I read the last paragraph I couldn't figure out WHY! What was so utterly unexpected for me is that the reason I love this book is precisely the exact reason I would have hated just yesterday it seems?!!? If that makes ANY sense. I almost feel like I have a different outlook on life than I did one day ago...much less one year ago...but I didn't realize it until THIS book. This book is an impressive tale with all of life's elements present...in fact, it is a tale ABOUT life, which in turn is a tale about every one of us. It is about men, women, home, travel, love, loss, happiness, sadness, passion, apathy, and everything in between. This is truly the best love story I have ever read, in more ways than one.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I really enjoy epic stories and sagas, big sweeping stories that enmesh the reader in the characters and their lives, and make the reader more than just a bystander watching the action, but a sort of participant. We want things to go a certain way, we want things to go well, because we care about the characters, and we have invested our hopes in them. Colleen McCullough has an almost magical skill in making her characters real and believable and true. That is what I love most about reading, and I really enjoy epic stories and sagas, big sweeping stories that enmesh the reader in the characters and their lives, and make the reader more than just a bystander watching the action, but a sort of participant. We want things to go a certain way, we want things to go well, because we care about the characters, and we have invested our hopes in them. Colleen McCullough has an almost magical skill in making her characters real and believable and true. That is what I love most about reading, and why I love certain authors above others. Where another author's character may be interesting and dynamic and exciting, they are still just a character. McCullough, and a few other authors, has the ability to make her characters, fictional though they may be, reach out of the pages and touch us. The characters she creates no longer feel like words on a page; they follow me around, pry their way into my dreams, make me wonder how they are spending their days when I'm not able to read about them. I love when I can just plunge into a book and live in it... To that end, McCullough even seemed to make Australia itself a living, breathing character. It's described beautifully, and is as unpredictable as any human character she's introduced here. This is the third McCullough book that I've read, and I feel like she must have spent an inordinate amount of her life just observing life and people. She brings us the stories of the people she creates, but, even though we're following an omniscient narrator, we can only see, feel and hear so much of our subject's lives. We can only reach so far into their hearts for the mysteries that elude us, because, like real people, they don't have open-book hearts and minds. But it feels like we're able to see into their souls, because McCullough understands humanity itself, and presents us with general truths that feel like intimate secrets. This story centers around the Cleary family and what comes to be their farm Drogheda. We meet Meggie Cleary as a 4 year old birthday girl, and then follow her through six decades of life, love and loss. Her family is a strange, introverted male-centric one. Meggie is the only girl in a rather large clan of brothers: Frank, Bob, Jack, Hughie, Stuart, Hal, James and Patrick. She learns early to be self-reliant, because in her family there is not a lot of use for girls. Her mother is very closed-mouthed, very closed-off, and works her fingers to the bone to keep the household running, because her father has very distinct ideas about the differences between the sexes - housework and child-rearing is woman's domain only, and farming and work is man's domain only. The two are not to mix or cross paths. This is not to say that Paddy Cleary was a bad or harsh man, because he was not, but he just had certain ideas of how life is, and his word was law as the Man of the House. Their lives ease somewhat after moving to Australia, but with the move comes a new set of struggles. Meggie meets and loves Father Ralph, the Catholic priest in the area. At ten, it's an innocent, adoring love, which provides her with attention that she's neglected in other areas of her life. Meggie is never taught about puberty, or where babies come from, or many other things that girls need to know. She's generally kept in the back hall closet of life. Not maliciously, but because in the Cleary family, a daughter has to fend for herself. Boys are the goal, because boys are the workers, the backbone of the family, and the genes that allow the name and lineage to be carried on. Because of Meggie's neglect, Father Ralph has the responsibility of teaching her the things that a mother should. As she grows up, the innocent love she holds for Father Ralph turns into more, and causes both parties to struggle, because what we want most is often what is the most forbidden. Father Ralph is probably my favorite character here. I am not Catholic, and a lot of the Catholic faith is a mystery to me. But his struggles of conscience and faith, which force him to choose between the love he feels and the vows he made, in my mind make him the most interesting character of them all. I think that probably most priests have this crisis at some point in their lives... do they regret their decision to forfeit their manhood for the priesthood? Are they strong enough to resist temptation? I'm glad that we got to see things here from both sides - not only Father Ralph's struggle, but Meggie's struggles as well. There was a lot in this book that reminded me of other classic literature. Father Ralph's struggles and Meggie's desire for him brought to mind Hester and Rev. Dimmesdale from "The Scarlet Letter". Justine, Meggie's daughter with Luke O'Neill, reminded me quite a bit of Jo March from "Little Women" in her feminist, proud, ambitious and take no prisoners approach to life. But in both cases, the similarities are only surface level, because these characters are far less perfect, less romantic, and more real than those they bring to mind from other books. There is more than a little heartbreak in this book and I will admit that I shed a few tears. But one thing that rather grated on my nerves was that I could always tell when tragedy was about to strike. It seemed that for every loss, there was a hopeful build-up so that the fall would be that much greater. I felt that it was obvious and I rolled my eyes more than once because of it. So that's why I've taken off a star for this book. But that being said, the depictions of the reactions to the losses were very real and honest. I just wish that the red herring ploy wasn't so obvious. Anyway, I did truly enjoy this book, as I have enjoyed the other McCulloughs that I've read. I do plan on reading more of her books in the future, and would certainly recommend this one.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Veronique

    "The heart wants what it wants, or else it does not care” Emily Dickinson (letter) Why has it taken me so long to finally try this novel? I’ve been enthralled these last fours days, putting aside all other books in favour of this one, snatching any moment to get back to the Clearys and Drogheda. I don’t often read epic sagas but McCullough gives us such beautiful and flawed characters, so well portrayed, that you cannot but believe in them, in the reality of them, feeling all their experiences, dr "The heart wants what it wants, or else it does not care” Emily Dickinson (letter) Why has it taken me so long to finally try this novel? I’ve been enthralled these last fours days, putting aside all other books in favour of this one, snatching any moment to get back to the Clearys and Drogheda. I don’t often read epic sagas but McCullough gives us such beautiful and flawed characters, so well portrayed, that you cannot but believe in them, in the reality of them, feeling all their experiences, dreams, pains, mistakes, victories. I loved some, hated others, wanted to knock some sense in many. Usually, ‘generation’ tales loose my attention when shifting from one group of protagonists to the next. Yet this didn’t happen here, the narrative leading you on and on without a break. Meggie, as indeed Fee and Justine, is the connecting thread - the three women in this world of men. Only one aspect made me a little uncomfortable (view spoiler)[not that Ralph is 18 years older than Meggie but that he met her when she was a child and had this position of authority (hide spoiler)] , but thankfully the author dealt with this in a manner I could accept. As you can imagine, there are plenty of themes, but the two main ones for me were that of Pride and Love in all its guises, impeding people from doing things, or indeed pushing them into action, for the wrong reasons. And in that aspect, it reminded me of Dickinson’s words - “the heart wants what it wants” - be damned the consequences. This novel is also more than just its people. McCullough gives us snapshots of life in different settings, all fascinating, from New Zealand to Rome. My favourite still has to be Australia and Drogheda, the harshness of the sheep farming life, and its unending beauty (minus spiders, of course). I was a child when I first heard of The Thorn Birds, an 80s tv series with a certain Richard Chamberlain, but I am so happy that I’ve finally read it. Off now to re-watch said series... :O)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shobhit Sharad

    I wanted to be impressed by this book, after reading so many positive reviews, and I am impressed, but not to the extent that would justify to me its heaps of praises. The story was good. Though a quite many important parts of the story were rushed up, I liked reading about Australia, and the changing world along with the changing story. The thing I disliked most about the book was that many of its characters' decisions were counter-intuitive, and it happened a lot of times. Except for the protago I wanted to be impressed by this book, after reading so many positive reviews, and I am impressed, but not to the extent that would justify to me its heaps of praises. The story was good. Though a quite many important parts of the story were rushed up, I liked reading about Australia, and the changing world along with the changing story. The thing I disliked most about the book was that many of its characters' decisions were counter-intuitive, and it happened a lot of times. Except for the protagonists, most characters were likeable. In fact, in the beginning and at the end, I quite enjoyed reading Meggie Cleary. But father Ralph de Bricassart was, according to me, such an impractical character, that in my mind he was hardly human (something like this with Dane too). On the other hand, I quite enjoyed Justine, Rain, Fee, Luke, Frank, and a few others. The best part about the book was the writing. Even at some too-tiring pages I was able to hold on because of the beautiful way in which Collen McCullough has written. Some of my favourite bits are here. “And gradually his memory slipped a little, as memories do, even those with so much love attached to them; as if there is an unconscious healing process within the mind which mends up in spite of our desperate determination never to forget.” "When a man's hands are callused you know he's honest." "Time ceased to tick and began to flow, washed over him until it had no meaning, only a depth of dimension more real than time." "Maybe senility's a mercy shown to those who couldn't face retrospection." End of the story is, I liked the book but didn't love it.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    This was a reread for me. When I read it some 30 years ago I didn't get to finish it because someone stole it off of my work desk. I had to know the ending. It is just so epic. If you love a big sweeping saga, this is a must.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Constantine

    Rating: 5.0/5.0 A Masterpiece in short. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It is my favorite book of August 2017 reading list and indeed became one of my all time favorites as well. I have no idea why it took me so many years to pick it up and read it!. This is a family saga. The story follows three generations of Cleary's family. We see characters go and new characters come. There are so many things in this book. Although the synopsis mainly mentions about the romance but it is much much mor Rating: 5.0/5.0 A Masterpiece in short. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It is my favorite book of August 2017 reading list and indeed became one of my all time favorites as well. I have no idea why it took me so many years to pick it up and read it!. This is a family saga. The story follows three generations of Cleary's family. We see characters go and new characters come. There are so many things in this book. Although the synopsis mainly mentions about the romance but it is much much more than this. It has lots of happiness, sadness, love story, struggle, faith, spirituality, sacrifice and passion. The writing is so good and enjoyable. The characters are so well defined, every one of them. The author was successfully able to make all the main characters be easily imagined by the reader in a clear vivid way. There are so many scenes in this book that will never be forgotten. Every character has its own misery and vulnerabilities. Fee Cleary stuck in her own sadness, Meggie's love to a priest Ralph that can never be fulfilled, Paddy's troublesome relationship with Frank. The fate of Dane's life and Justine's constant irritation of Drogheda. It is difficult to say more without spoiling the story. Yes it is not a short book but I would say worth every minute spent reading it. If you love family sagas you should read it for sure. It is one of the best.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kathi

    I didn't read this book when it was popular (when I was in high school) because my mother wouldn't let me - because of the affair the Priest has. I was also banned from watching the made-for-t.v.-movie. Well, a few months ago she was getting rid of a bunch of books & asked me if I wanted any of them & The Thorn Birds was in there. I asked if I was allowed to read it now that I was 46 yrs. old???? I gave this book 5 stars because it immediately pulled me in & the characters were so re I didn't read this book when it was popular (when I was in high school) because my mother wouldn't let me - because of the affair the Priest has. I was also banned from watching the made-for-t.v.-movie. Well, a few months ago she was getting rid of a bunch of books & asked me if I wanted any of them & The Thorn Birds was in there. I asked if I was allowed to read it now that I was 46 yrs. old???? I gave this book 5 stars because it immediately pulled me in & the characters were so real. I didn't want the book to end. By the way, the so called affair the Priest had, was pretty mild. I highly recommend this book that is a story spans 6 decades.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    692 pages of a wonderful family saga. I loved it all.....the secrets, the family, the bonds, the deceit, the stubbornness, the pride and the love!!!! Sooooo goooood!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Fiona Brichaut

    This is one of the books I scorned for years. Romantic fiction - I used to think - is fluff for bimbos. Since I consider myself literate and intelligent (yeah, really!) I wouldn't touch this sort of book. Bizarrely, I was not ashamed to read even the most extreme - and extremely inane - crime fiction. ("After all, we all need to relax now and then." Hmmmph!) Well, now I'm older and wiser and more inclined to read books for enjoyment than for the pleasure of imagining how people will be impressed This is one of the books I scorned for years. Romantic fiction - I used to think - is fluff for bimbos. Since I consider myself literate and intelligent (yeah, really!) I wouldn't touch this sort of book. Bizarrely, I was not ashamed to read even the most extreme - and extremely inane - crime fiction. ("After all, we all need to relax now and then." Hmmmph!) Well, now I'm older and wiser and more inclined to read books for enjoyment than for the pleasure of imagining how people will be impressed when they scan my bookshelves, and since I have realised that every crime that can be imagined has been done to death already (sorry!), I have started to read books I wouldn't have touched in the past. In other words, chic lit, romantic fiction, historical fiction and the like. And I've been discovering plenty of good reads in the process. This is one of them. It's a good story that catches your interest right from the start. It provides insights into the difficult lives of people on a big Australian farm in the last century (the 20th, I mean). As a love story it is engaging. The characters are memorable. The writing is not bad. The plot is interesting and the structure is excellent. Not a book to win literary prizes, perhaps, but a far less silly way to pass a few hours pleasantly than reading psycho-killer nonsense. In any case, it was a famous book in its day, and I'm glad that now at last I am in a position to pass judgement on the book, rather than its readers.

  24. 5 out of 5

    BrokenTune

    2nd re-read and it still has not lost anything. A more review-like compilation of thoughts will be forthcoming in a few days.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Arlene

    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 Go 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. And there sets the setting for The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough; a quest in search of true love but faced with a powerful, forbidden passion that only grows stronger and more painful as time goes by . The Thorn Birds, a true literary classic in its own right, was absolutely absorbing and compelling as you journey through three generations (1915 - 1969) of the Cleary family from the hills of New Zealand and the dusty lands of the Australian Outback to the grand cathedrals of the Vatican in Rome. The emotionally gripping and compelling writing is one of the purest examples of purple prose executed to perfection in my honorable opinion. It had me spellbound for a good 5 days as I read through it only to face a heart-rending climactic finale. I definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to get lost in a novel filled with captivating characters who face five decades of family tragedies, harsh realities, forbidden love, and ultimate self-discovery. One thing I must note is that I am glad I waited to read this book when I did because I feel it takes an open mind and relaxed moral compass to appreciate the sincere, tasteful, and beautiful love story infused in this novel. Had I read this in my teens or even twenties, I think I would have gasped an outrage of blasphemy and sacrilege, but at this point in my life I can set the actions apart from the roles of the characters and see them as mere humans with understandable needs for love and affection despite their position in life. Ralph and Meggie's account is a timeless story because it deals with forbidden love and wanting what we cannot have, which can easily resonate to many readers, plain and simple. It was heartbreaking to see history repeat itself where the Cleary women put their lives on hold, yearning for a man they cannot have and neglecting their children along the way, while at the same time you witness the men of the family allowing their lives to drift by without a true quest to find something more meaningful for their lives besides just working the land. Overall, I was immediately drawn into the Outback and the lives of the Clearys and towards the end of my journey, I found myself resisting the closure of this book. The Thorn Birds has definitely found a spot on my favorites list, as I loved the story, the turbulent cast of characters and beautifully descriptive scenes in this book. Great read!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Magnificent! Well this was a trip down memory lane.. I read this over and over as a teenager. It was my first ‘racy’ book. At the time it was the Meggie/Ralph relationship I was most focused on. And then Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward went and ruined it. They just weren’t how I ‘saw’ Meggie and Ralph. So when I rated this from memory, I gave it a mediocre 3 star rating. Now I am older and wiser. I loved it all, but particularly enjoyed the evolution of the relationship between Fee and Meggi Magnificent! Well this was a trip down memory lane.. I read this over and over as a teenager. It was my first ‘racy’ book. At the time it was the Meggie/Ralph relationship I was most focused on. And then Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward went and ruined it. They just weren’t how I ‘saw’ Meggie and Ralph. So when I rated this from memory, I gave it a mediocre 3 star rating. Now I am older and wiser. I loved it all, but particularly enjoyed the evolution of the relationship between Fee and Meggie. And the relationship between Justine and Rainer was the most romantic. Despite a book containing so many men, this book is, for me at least, all about the women. And all about the pain we choose for ourselves: ‘The bird with the thorn in its breast, it follows an immutable law; it is driven by it knows not what to impale itself, and die singing. At the very instant the thorn enters there is no awareness in it of the dying to come; it simply sings and sings until there is not the life left to utter another note. But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it.’

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gina *loves sunshine*

    I feel rather mature and grown up after finishing this book - I'm trying to figure out why because I am not young!?!?! Maybe it feels like I accomplished something. I read "a classic". Or it may have something to do with being 8 years old and seeing images flickering by on the TV screen while my mom watched...maybe listening to my Mom talk about the mini series with her friends. In my mind this book is an "old book" - one of those novels that is big and long and old!! But I have wanted to read i I feel rather mature and grown up after finishing this book - I'm trying to figure out why because I am not young!?!?! Maybe it feels like I accomplished something. I read "a classic". Or it may have something to do with being 8 years old and seeing images flickering by on the TV screen while my mom watched...maybe listening to my Mom talk about the mini series with her friends. In my mind this book is an "old book" - one of those novels that is big and long and old!! But I have wanted to read it for so many years. I am so glad I got around to it!! I listened to the audio and it was a fantastic narration! 22 hours long, seems daunting, but I enjoyed every word!!! This is a saga - really it's very akin to a prime time soap opera like Dallas or Knots Landing. Or maybe that is just me picturing my Mother again?!?! So thankful to have taken the plunge and read this. I am not usually one to easily read a book that spans multiple generations, characters, and interwoven stories. I tell myself I don't have the patience - but that's not really it. I am patient for any fantastic book - and this one was!! The author had a beautiful way of telling stories, showing characters, and putting you right in the setting - I loved it!! It was the perfect blend of family, farm, real life, fears, betrayal, riches, honor and love. I really need to go back and pick some more of these oldies!!!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kaylie MacKenzie

    I picked this to read partly because of my continuing obsession with Australian/New Zealand settler fiction (if any one module I took at university can be said to have changed my reading habits, it is that one) and partly because it was mentioned in The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club, which I read earlier this year. And which, of course, I know how to read again in the future so I can see how what they said about The Thorn Birds relates to the book. It came as somewhat of a s I picked this to read partly because of my continuing obsession with Australian/New Zealand settler fiction (if any one module I took at university can be said to have changed my reading habits, it is that one) and partly because it was mentioned in The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club, which I read earlier this year. And which, of course, I know how to read again in the future so I can see how what they said about The Thorn Birds relates to the book. It came as somewhat of a surprise to me that my parents had heard of this book, by the way. Though, my mum did describe it as 'that one with the priest' and also said it was 'weird'. I found it moving. The descriptions of Meggie's (emotional) pain gave me a pang in the chest, and misty eyes, and made me acutely aware of how devastating loss can be. There were at least two points while reading this book that I looked at the remaining page count and wondered what else could possibly happen. I worried it would be 200 pages of padding, because the story seemed to me to have reached a conclusion. Both times, the story took an unexpected turn, and I needn't have worried because I found each new metamorphosis just as interesting as I'd found the story up to that point.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Good Lord -- when did this book come out? 1978 -- I must have read it in the early 80s. This is one of the books that defined my reading tastes afterwards. I remember my mother reading this when it first came out. She sat in a hardback kitchen chair in our harvest gold kitchen and just read and read. Years later I did the same thing. It is funny now -- the Catholic priest angle that was so shocking back then seems rather quaint now. Still -- this is a book that shaped the multi-generational tale Good Lord -- when did this book come out? 1978 -- I must have read it in the early 80s. This is one of the books that defined my reading tastes afterwards. I remember my mother reading this when it first came out. She sat in a hardback kitchen chair in our harvest gold kitchen and just read and read. Years later I did the same thing. It is funny now -- the Catholic priest angle that was so shocking back then seems rather quaint now. Still -- this is a book that shaped the multi-generational tale. (My husband and I walked out of the church at our wedding to Theme from the Thorn Birds by Henry Mancini. Our parish priest objected to the link to the novel, so we had to title it "Irish Folk Tune" in the program!) I still love this book enough that I will pull my original 1978 hardcover off the shelf and reread it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Chick_Flick

    I seldom read romance novels and only picked this up because the title sounded familiar. I learned later that's because there had been a television adaptation of the novel. This foray into the genre only reaffirmed why I avoid the genre in the first place: the book is overly melodramatic; the characters are unlikable and one dimensional. The love between Father Ralph and Meggie bothered me; it didn't seem real enough and the age difference and the circumstances in which they met (she being a chi I seldom read romance novels and only picked this up because the title sounded familiar. I learned later that's because there had been a television adaptation of the novel. This foray into the genre only reaffirmed why I avoid the genre in the first place: the book is overly melodramatic; the characters are unlikable and one dimensional. The love between Father Ralph and Meggie bothered me; it didn't seem real enough and the age difference and the circumstances in which they met (she being a child at the time) didn't sit well with me either. The characterization of the son also was done poorly. I didn't connect enough with him to have felt the devastation Meggie et al. felt at his death. He was supposed to be so great and pure, yet McCullough only managed to tell -- as opposed to showing -- us why.

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