Monday, 24 August 2015

The Thorn Birds

Details of the Book
No. of Pages   : 692
ISBN               : 0380018179 (ISBN13: 9780380018178)
Language        : English

From the book blurb
Powered by the dreams and struggles of three generations, THE THORN BIRDS is the epic saga of a family rooted in the Australian sheep country. At the story's heart is the love of Meggie Cleary, who can never possess the man she desperately adores, and Ralph de Bricassart, who rises from parish priest to the inner circles of the Vatican...but whose passion for Meggie will follow him all the days of his life.

Family secrets, forbidden love, jealousy and the struggles of working in a hard new land intertwine in Colleen McCullough's bestselling romantic family saga making it an extremely fascinating read.

The Thorn Birds was listed at number 64 on the BBC's survey The Big Read in 2003 and in 1983, it was adapted as a TV mini-series that became the United States' second highest rated mini-series of all time.

Colleen McCullough is an internationally acclaimed Australian novelist.

Some of her books include The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Fortune’s Favorites, Caesar, The October Horse, and Morgan’s Run.

She was born on 1 June, 1937, in Wellington, in outback central west New South Wales. Since 1963, she spent ten years researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. In the late 1970s, she settled on Norfolk Island in the Pacific, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson, to whom she has been married to since 1983. She now lives in Sydney.

Meghann Cleary aka Meggie
She is proud and motherly who is insanely in love with Ralph – the man who is not meant to be loved. Because loving him means only pain and more pain.

Ralph de Bricassart aka Ralph
A priest who struggles within to be a prefect priest. In his heart, Ralph knows that his love for Meggie is more than his love for his church; but he never lets anyone know that – not even Meggie.

There are several other eminent characters as well; Luke O'Neill, Fiona Cleary aka Fee Padraic Cleary akka Paddy, Frank, Dane, Justine, Rainer and many others.

What I think
Some books touches our heart and pinches our soul. It stirs our emotions and makes us think. It makes us feel the pain, understand and empathize. Some books do. We know that what we are reading is just a fiction. Still the characters come across as real people with flesh and blood. Their emotions start affecting us as our own; although we know that they are wrong; they are sinned. Then, a question would make us shudder. Wrong and sin? Isn’t that subjective and situational. Aren’t circumstances (mostly) beyond our control? Some books leave a scar in our heart which we know would never fade.

Collen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds is everything and much more I have mentioned above. Extending for three generations and spread across nearly 700 pages, this book is an epic – an epic of love lost and lifelong suffering of Meggie. Often we wonder, if she did the right thing? Did she deserve the pain? Some questions like these are always unanswered though.

The author’s narrative glides with a rehearsed ease and spans over more than fifty years. She describes how Drogheda (a fictional place) in Australia look. She also touches upon how the world war affected common man’s life.

The Thorn Birds is predominantly Meggie’s life – her parents, siblings, husband, children, pain, agony, love and Ralph of course. 

"But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know. We understand. And still we do it. Still we do it."

In short, this book is romantic in its own way; which states that love is such a broad term which need not be always confined within the constraints of marriage or any other such relationship tag. It hints that if hearts connects, distance and the years that passes would never deter the love. It simply says that there is nothing right or wrong in love.

Relish it J


Some words that stole my heart
·         "There are no ambitions noble enough to justify breaking someone's heart.”
·         "..the best is only bought at the cost of great pain...or so says the legend"
·         Each of us has within us something that just won’t be denied. Something to which we are driven even though it makes us scream aloud to die."
·         "How frightening, that one person could mean so much, so many things."

Thank you
My cousin for suggesting this book 


  1. I am in the lookout for books that enable me to understand character development better, and this seems interesting. The book I was recommended for that purpose was 'Anna Carenina' and am reading it now.

    Destination Infinity

  2. What a great review, quite detailed too. Nice of you to share!

  3. Very detailed review. 4/5 rating. This has to be a good book.

  4. Nice review.. I will grab this book :)

  5. Interesting book it seems from your review.