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The Thorn Birds

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  292,383 ratings  ·  5,279 reviews
Alternate Cover Edition ISBN 0380018179 (ISBN13: 9780380018178)
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 more than ha
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Mass Market Paperback, 25th Anniversary Edition, 692 pages
Published 2002 by Avon Books (first published April 1977)
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Popular Answered Questions
Zadignose This question is similar to asking "should Catholics believe in God?" The answers given so far (all fundamentally "no") are based on the presumption…moreThis question is similar to asking "should Catholics believe in God?" The answers given so far (all fundamentally "no") are based on the presumption that Catholicism is bullshit. If you don't presume that, the answer isn't so straightforward. Taking the outsider's perspective, it's easy to reject another's faith. Should Christian Scientists go to the doctor when they're sick? If I have contempt for their faith, obviously the answer is "yes, you're sick, go to the doctor." Because, obviously, I don't believe what they believe.

As far as Catholics and the attitudes towards priests and celibacy, well... love of family and love of a woman might sound all nice, but Jesus himself had no special love or consideration for his own family, he didn't care much even for his own mother, the Holy Virgin, and he told his disciples to abandon their families and devote themselves entirely to spreading the Word of God.

Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

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Tante Zoe I read an article by Germaine Greer where I think she mentions that it is likely to be set in or around Walgett....
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Showing 1-30
4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  292,383 ratings  ·  5,279 reviews


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Ana O
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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
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Elyse Walters
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
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Crumb
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing

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
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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
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Fabian
Sep 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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 and to a home, this one exactly does that in an extremely entertaining f
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Nettle
Feb 09, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Brina
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

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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
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Maria Clara
Jun 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Magnífico! Y me quedo corta; cortísima. Tanto que he estado a punto de otorgarle mis segundas 6 estrellas del año. Hace años vi por la tele la serie que se hizo de esta novela, pero no hay punto de comparación; es imposible. En la novela vemos y sentimos a todos sus personajes, sus miedos, sus inquietudes y deseos; todo lo que aman y aborrecen. Sus defectos y virtudes. Sencillamente muy muy fan de esta escritora.
Xenia0201
Oct 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Sharon
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Shawn the big poppa pump
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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..
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 ...more
Mahsa
پرندگان خارزار، هفتصد صفحه ی تلخ و شیرین رو همراه خودش داشت؛ صفحاتی برای تجربه ی تمامِ احساساتی که طی یک عمر تجربه خواهیم کرد، با تمام اشکها و لبخندهاش.
از سال هزار و نهصد و پانزده همراه تک تک اعضای خانواده ی "کلیری" بودم، تا هزار و نهصد و شصت و نه. پنجاه و چهار سال از اتفاقاتی که بهشون گذشت، از لبخندها، شکستها، امیدها، از دست دادنها و احساسشون خوندم و نزدیکیشون رو عمیقا حس کردم.

اولش همراه یه خانواده ی هفت نفره بودم. مادر، پدر، چهار برادر، و یه خواهر؛ مگان. ولی دوست نداره مگان صداش کنید، مگی رو ت
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Sarah
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
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Heather
Jan 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
Shelves: top-100-list
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
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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
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Veronique
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"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
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Célia Loureiro
Fora-me dito que “Pássaros Feridos” era um livro sobre o amor proibido entre uma nova zelandesa e um padre. Colocá-lo assim é simplista demais. É um livro que põe em perspectiva as vidas, os papéis, as obrigações, as dores de alma e os desafios que cada um está fadado a enfrentar.
A história começa com uma família de imigrantes irlandeses com várias crianças a passar dificuldades na Nova Zelândia, no início do séc. XX. É no seio dessa família que a única menina, Maggie, começa a procurar o seu lu
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Tânia
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Adorei. Adorei. Adorei. É um livro que prende da primeira à última página. É uma história sobre sofrimento, persistência e resiliência. Retrata a história de uma família, inicialmente residente na Nova Zelândia, mas que cedo parte para a Austrália (e como há tanto tempo eu anseio por visitar a Austrália...). Aí relata essencialmente a vida rural, de muita poeira e ambiente cinzento, longas extensões de terra árida, com condições meteorológicas extremas, intercalando épocas de profundas secas com ...more
Shobhit Sharad
Dec 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Shobhit by: Yoana
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
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Sarah
Jan 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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.
Rita
Sinto que vivi uma vida inteira neste livro. Poderia arranjar dezenas de adjectivos sinónimos de maravilhoso, fantástico, incrível e ainda assim nunca iria parecer suficiente. Acontece com os melhores. Atentem no primeiro parágrafo da obra:

"Existe uma lenda acerca de um pássaro que só canta uma vez na vida, com mais suavidade do que qualquer outra criatura sobre a Terra. A partir do momento em que deixa o ninho, começa a procurar um espinheiro, e só descansa quando o encontra. Depois, cantando e
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Kathi
Oct 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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Laura
Jan 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: group-reads
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!
Fiona Brichaut
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those looking for an engrossing holiday book
Shelves: a-good-read
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
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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
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BrokenTune
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
2nd re-read and it still has not lost anything. A more review-like compilation of thoughts will be forthcoming in a few days.
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1,680 followers
Colleen Margaretta McCullough was an Australian author known for her novels, her most well-known being The Thorn Birds and Tim.

Raised by her mother in Wellington and then Sydney, McCullough began writing stories at age 5. She flourished at Catholic schools and earned a physiology degree from the University of New South Wales in 1963. Planning become a doctor, she found that she had a violent aller
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“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 outcarol 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.” 569 likes
“There are no ambitions noble enough to justify breaking someone's heart. ” 314 likes
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