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Thursday's Child

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  906 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Sonya Hartnett’s haunting, mythical novel - now in paperback

Harper Flute believes that her younger brother Tin, with his uncanny ability to dig, was born to burrow. While their family struggles to survive in a bleak landscape during the Great Depression, the silent and elusive little Tin - "born on a Thursday and so fated to his wanderings" - begins to escape underground,
Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 11th 2003 by Candlewick Press (first published 2000)
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43rd out of 242 books — 113 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,724)
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Nina Pace
Dec 12, 2010 Nina Pace rated it it was amazing
This is another book that leaves a lasting impression. Hartnett's style and simplicity of writing directs all focus to the troubled Tin and his family, who live in a state of poverty and struggle. Despite its setting in outback Australia, Hartnett's book feels timeless. It is a dark and dreamy tale of a secreted and almost mythological family life. Its a beautiful but slightly chilling tale that leaves you feeling edgy and moved.
It takes Harper and her family a while to realize that Tin is not meant from this above-ground world. It's Harper that finally figures it out, since Tin's her younger brother and all, and since she's charged with watching him. Living during the Great Depression, their barren farm and shack of a house are little comfort to Harper as she and Tin grow older and further apart.

Thursday's Child is a growing up story. A Depression story. A broken-family story. A story of a boy who's happier underground
Aug 19, 2009 Leslie rated it did not like it
Shelves: chez-mama
this book is W.I.E.R.D. The idea of a ferral child is just down right sad to me. Im 50 pages into the book as a preview for goose and Im thinking that I won't continue. Im wondering why others on goodreads rated it so high? I thought it would be an interesting read about a family in the depression but instead,they let one of their many children live UNDER THE DARN HOUSE (!) and never come out to see the light of day because he likes it there. The author said that she got the idea for the book af ...more
Philip Goddard
Jun 18, 2013 Philip Goddard rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended by my Creative Writing Tutor, I was completely enchanted with the story of this family making their way through difficult and troubling times. It is beautifully observed, The forgiveness and understanding of how things are in a family where faults are always most apparent to the other members is masterful.

The strangeness of one of the members of the family within the story is wonderfully interwoven with the day to day living; so effectively that you accept it as part of the family.
Natalie Baker
Oct 18, 2011 Natalie Baker rated it it was amazing
When I first began reading this book, I found it to be incredibly strange. It does not seem plausible that a family would allow their child to dig tunnels under their house, let alone live in those tunnels. As I kept reading though I realized that Sonya Hartnett is not merely telling a story of a family during the Great Depression in Australia. Instead, she has done an incredibly amazing job of telling the story of Harper and exploring Harper's psyche through her portrayal of Tin. Sonya Hartnett ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Kyrie rated it really liked it
Young adult and children's authors seem to convey emotion and situations so much better than adult fiction

Don't ask me how, but it's believable that the family got so caught up in other things that they let Tin go wild and dig all over the place.

That's the premise that made me pick up the book. The story, as seen through Harper's eyes, isn't happy, but it's not horribly sad either. It's just how people survive bad times and bad choices.

It's worth reading for the writing if that makes sense. I
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Sep 14, 2013 Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance rated it really liked it
Shelves: children, kids-1001
(I don’t think there is any way I can explain this amazing story. I will try, but I will fail.)

Harper Flute and her family struggle during Depression times in rural Australia. Her little brother Tin takes to tunneling as life for the family gets more and more desperate. As Tin spends more and more of his time tunneling, the family begins to let Tim go.

How would you classify this story? Historical fiction? Maybe. Science fiction? Maybe a little of that, too.

In any case, it’s truly a story like no
Jul 13, 2014 Zarrin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book about 4 or 5 years and I still can strongly recollect events of the story. I remember the book leaving me confused and somewhat bewildered and I loved soaking up every word written. I hadn't sought out to read a book when I came across this in my cousins collection and I honestly could not put it down. I strongly would recommend anyone to read this book. It's one of those strange stories yet it's element of rawness really captures your attention...
Mar 06, 2014 Annette rated it really liked it
Because I liked this author's book "The Ghost's Child", I went right out & got this book from the library, to try another of hers.
They were actually very different kind of books. But I thought both were very well written. I enjoyed this book quite a bit.
With "The Ghost's Child", I felt it was an eloquently written 'fairy tale', as well as an autobiography of the main character. I compared the story most to things I've read of Neil Gaiman's.
With "Thursday's Child", in the beginning I felt th
Harry Davies
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Aziz
Sep 19, 2014 Hannah Aziz rated it liked it
I didn't really realise it throughout the minimal number of pages, but after finishing the read, I had realised that I'd watched the characters- especially the children- grow. By the end, young bodies hosting old souls, and the aged: mere ghosts.

It was life in a book.

I felt, though, that the book was very surreal. Metaphorical? I wouldn't be certain as I didn't really bother to analyse, but definitely unlikely. Despite the peculiarity -that I don't think is purposeless- the feelings and actions
Charmaine Clancy
Feb 09, 2014 Charmaine Clancy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: aussie
Hartnett paints vivid images with words. Her language is simple and accessible, yet deceptively beautiful, despite the sometimes bleak subject. Thursday's Child is expressive, alluring and bittersweet and delivers the magic Hartnett fans come to expect.

This novel portrays family and all the obligations, resentments and surprises contained within. The setting is rural Australia during the Depression and show the struggle of one family, the highs, lows, in their extremes and through the mild chang
Jan 12, 2015 Ryan rated it really liked it
Thought it was a very interesting perspective on the Great Depression in another part of the world. The author does a great job in tying in the effects (?) of the environment on people and vice versa.. the subtle element of "supernatural" was blended very nicely, and didn't misguide the purpose...however, I'd like to have seen more interaction between Tin and the family in his early years to solidify some of the reasons he chose to do certain things (trying not give away the story :) At any rate ...more
Apr 13, 2010 Katie rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Brandt (Audiobook-Heaven)
First of all, where on Earth does this novel take place? Thursday’s Child is set during the Great Depression and so, being an egocentric American, I naturally assumed it was in the American Great Depression. But then I was confused because the characters all had Irish or Scottish accents. I read what someone else wrote about Thursday’s Child and they said that it takes place in Australia based on some subtle clues in the text like local flora and place-names. That makes sense since Sonya Har ...more
Kylie Purdie
Oct 13, 2013 Kylie Purdie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-read
Sonya Hartnett does not write cheery, happy books. No, instead she complex, dark, thoughtful stories that leaves her reader shocked and bleeding - I love it! Her real strength is in her characters, so simply drawn but with such depth you feel you would know them the moment you saw them.
She frequently uses the Australian landscape to punctuate the desolation felt in her stories - the stark, dry landscape, the tough, suspicious people it breeds. If I close my eyes, I can see the Flute family stand
Sep 06, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Stacey
Recommended to Beth by: Danica
This book has a weird, weird storyline due to some weird, weird characters (with weird names: Harper, Tin, Vandery, Caffy, etc.). It was certainly not the cheeriest read (I mean, really -- it's a coming-of-age story during the Depression; what should one expect?). The ending is satisfying but not exactly happy.

And yet, I really liked this book. The writing was absolutely phenomenal. Rich without being verbose, the author created the whole feel of the novel just through those well-crafted sentenc
May 19, 2012 Erickold rated it liked it
Las preocupaciones que asechan a la familia Flute son completamente profundas, las trae el viento, un viento vivo que tiene tantos humores como cualquier persona. De alegres a tristes y trágicos. Túneles es la historia de esta familia, o al menos parte de ella. La mala, puede decirse.
La casi numerosa y sin dinero familia Flute que vive de conejos. Los vende, los come, y aunque esté harta de ello, sabe que lo primero es vivir.
La voz de Harper, nuestra joven protagonista, pinta las cosas como su v
Sep 10, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
Thursday's Child Mini Review

The genre of the fictional novel Thursday's Child is Classical first person narrative told in the eyes of a young girl called Harper in the depression period in the Australian Outback.

It basically covers a family's struggle through poverty, trouble and difficult relationships and inter workings between different people having both good and bad times and both suffering and prosperity.

The book was a good read (heh heh) as it brings insight into what the mood of that pe
My least favourite Sonya Hartnett book so far. If you asked me now to describe the plot of this book my answer would be that there's this family in I don't know which country, presumably australia but featuring many Irish accents, that lots of bad stuff happens to. There was no real plot. Just one bad thing after another happened, and though some of these things were quite big, there wasn't a lot of emphasis put on any of them. I did however enjoy, as I always do, her use of language. It's beaut ...more
Tian-jian Liu
Jul 02, 2014 Tian-jian Liu rated it really liked it
Thursday's Child is a novel that defines the biased view of a child, Harper Flute, as she narrates the events that revolve around her family during he Great Depression. Since she is around ten in the novel, reaching twelve at the end, she is able to narrate and describe the transitioning from one world to another, from the world of infinite time and fun (child) to the more serious world of finance and more developed knowledge of the relations around them (adolescent to adult).
Aug 22, 2015 Meg rated it it was ok
I found this difficult to seemed so bleak, I actually skipped part of it as I was optimistically looking for a brighter ending. I couldn't believe the strangeness either of Tin who was left to dig, I know strange things happen in families, but from the stories my family tells of these bleak times never indicating this sort of surreal behaviour I found it hard to accept!
On the other hand I cannot fault the writers story telling . The book is very easy to read in terms of the text and t
Harrison Long
Jul 14, 2013 Harrison Long rated it really liked it
'Thursday's Child' is a mysterious story about the life of the Flute family as they try to blend in with the countryside even though they don't know how to farm, sadly. This book explores the struggles that this family undergoes in order to survive and the sacrifices that some of them have to make in order to support the family. It is also a story about the mysterious Tin, a mute boy who spends his days underground in order to dig his tunnels. This story is happy at times but also contains more ...more
Apr 11, 2011 Christy rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
What would you do if things couldn’t get any worse? Set during the Great Depression in rural Australia, a family deals with loss after loss: the death of a child, the collapse of their home, the loss of themselves to something dark and craven. Harper, the third child of five and the second daughter, tells of growing up and struggling to survive. She tells of family relationships and how loss can change everything and especially everyone. Her younger brother, Tin, is more comfortable burrowing in ...more
Nov 10, 2015 Helen rated it really liked it
This author started to write at 13 and one wonders what experiences she had seen that allow her to write such well written but hard-rending stories of hardships and downright neglect of children. This book is written as the hardships of the Depression gradually affect the family and the community, but where the kindness of the community still thrives. The relationships within the family and especially with Tin, their boy who gradually leaves them to live in his tunnels, is brilliantly described. ...more
Jan 11, 2016 AilaLinnea rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, I didn't even finish this book. I have read 95 pages and I am not going to read any more. I didn't like it at all and I don't even want to know what happens, because seriously NOTHING interesting has happened so far. I can't understand how this book has gotten so good ratings? It's actually really bad... :(
Mrs. Reed
Nov 15, 2014 Mrs. Reed rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 01, 2015 MammaMia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lasutmaning-16
Väldigt annorlunda och speciell historia om en udda pojke i en fattig australiensk familj. Författaren har blivit flerfaldigt prisbelönt.
David N
Jul 23, 2014 David N rated it liked it
This Australian book was very character focused, but still had a gripping story. I enjoyed it, but I'm not a very big fan of non-action
Jun 11, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it
Strange - a bit like an alternative reality Little House. Young Harper (instead of Laura) lives with Mam and Da in a shack, in the midst of the Dust Bowl of the Great Depression. Her younger brother, Tin, roams the ground beneath their shack, digging and rarely coming up into the sun. They all accept the death of new children with little complaint - not enough time to miss them. Tin appears now and then, altering Harper's life a bit each time...and the story ends with, well an ending that Harper ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Does Tin actually die in the mudslide at the beginning of this book? 1 18 Oct 18, 2011 11:51AM  
Endicott Mythic F...: This topic has been closed to new comments. Thursday's Child - Discussion 9 19 Jan 06, 2011 10:48PM  
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Sonya Hartnett (also works under the pseudonym Cameron S. Redfern) is, or was, something of an Australian child prodigy author. She wrote her first novel at the age of thirteen, and had it published at fifteen. Her books have also been published in Europe and North America. Her novels have been published traditionally as young adult fiction, but her writing often crosses the divide and is also enj ...more
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