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The Thorn Birds: A Novel Paperback – Deckle Edge, May 11, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 821 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

''A heart-rending epic . . . truly marvelous.'' --Chicago Tribune

''A perfect read . . . The kind of book the world blockbuster was made for.'' --Boston Globe

''This gripping and passionate tale of an Australian family is a natural for audio presentation . . . Woods creates an audio edition that is as addictive to listen to as the book is to read.'' --AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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With over 10 million copies sold worldwide, here is the towering epic about three generations of a remarkable family in the Australian outback that was the basis for one of the most beloved television miniseries of all time. The Boston Globe called it "the kind of book the word 'blockbuster' was made for." The inaugural edition of our Modern Classics series, this is the only hardcover edition of The Thorn Birds currently in print. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reissue edition (May 11, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061990477
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061990472
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (821 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a truly a great and classic novel. I do not bestow these oft-overused adjectives lightly. This is a story of deep, rich, and forbidden love, betrayal, tragedy, and ambition. This is a truly wonderful story set primarily in Australia, circa 1915 and then spanning several generations to the post World War II era. McCullough writes a sprawling story which primarily centers on the forbidden love between an extraordinary woman and a good but ambitious priest.
This is the story of the Cleary family, originally from Ireland, who emigrate first to New Zealand, and early on, to Australia. The young Cleary daughter, Meggie, falls in love with the local Catholic priest, Ralph de Briccasart, who is a good and ambitious man who certainly does nothing to encourage this love, but who certainly returns it as he regards Meggie as the daughter he can never have. As Meggie matures, he comes to regard her in a more romantic way. A great struggle arises between this love on the one hand ("the forbidden rose") and his ambition to become a Cardinal or perhaps more, on the other.
There is much, much, more to the story than this, however. The novel transports the reader to Australia, and makes that country a real place to those of us who have never been there. This is also the story of the struggles of the Cleary family, as they battle with, and come to love, the rich outback country of Australia. This is an extraordinarily authentic and moving story that any review (or at least this one) can only fail to do justice.
McCullough's prose is simply outstanding, and her characters crackle with realism--they become utterly real people and the reader will become swept away with this wonderful story. The storyline never drags, and at no point does this novel ever fail to completely capture the reader's attention. This novel is not only a classic; it is a ripping good read! If you have not yet enjoyed this novel, you are in for a wonderful reading experience.
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Format: Hardcover
The Thorn Birds, written by Colleen McCullough, in my opinion is the greatest romance novel of all time. The character of Meggie Cleary is my favorite character in all of literature. Her strength, beauty, passion and love makes her a timeless heroine. Meggie and Father Ralph share a love story that spans many years and many heartbreaks. Even though they are not together, the book always has a undercurrent where you can feel their longing and endless love for each other, even though they are not together. In their hearts, they will be together forever.Meggie and Ralph are the Romeo and Juliet of the Australian outback- just as tortured and tragic. The miniseries was also fabulous--Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward make me speechless every time I see it. It is spectacular. Read The Thorn Birds and watch the series, if you are lucky enough to have the chance. You will never be the same--it's not just a book or a movie, it's an experience. Thank you Colleen McCullough, for such a wonderful story.
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Format: Paperback
"The Thorn Birds" by Colleen McCullough is my favorite novel. It is in a category by itself and deserves more than five stars. I saw ten minutes of the miniseries on television and knew I had to read the book. I was twelve, and the story of Meggie and Ralph moved me to hysterical tears. I am now 18, and I have read the book so many times I have lost count. Set in the Australian Outback in the years surrounding WWII, it is the story of a girl growing up, learning that "The best is only bought at the cost of great pain...Or so says the legend." The courage and strength of Meggie despite the tremendous hardships of her life inspires me. I must admit I fell in love with Ralph de Bricassart; first with his name, then with the man. (I can only hope to find such a person!) All of the other characters--Fee, Paddy, Frank, Dane, Justine, Rain--are developed clearly throughout the story. McCullough is a genius for combining three generations of the Cleary family into one novel! I still cry when I read the story, for the love, and for the pain. The introductory story of the thornbird is a lesson for life: all sadness will pass, and one day something beautiful will come from that pain. A highly emotional book, "The Thorn Birds" is the best work of this century. It is worth reading to anyone who enjoys drama and romance, as well as suspense, action, and sadness! The movie based on the novel starring Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward is an excellent interpretation.
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Format: Paperback
If I could give this book 10 stars I would. From the first page I was drawn into the Cleary family's world...into their colorful lives and the journey through their truimph and pain that spans a lifetime. This is a superb novel that centers around Meggie Cleary, a girl only but 7 years old at the start of the saga. Born into a poor Irish family of sheep shearers in the beautiful land of New Zealand, Meggie learns quickly that she must look after herself. From the time Meggie was a small child she was wise beyond her years. Having to hold her own against a family of all boys, save her mother Fee, who is but a shell of her former self. Fee being too busy with chores and duties, had no time to give love or affection to any of her children, except Frank...because he was different, he didn't resemble the Cleary's, he didn't behave as a Cleary. Meggie's oldest brother Frank was the only one who showed little Meggie any affection and she clung to him as if he were the only person who ever really loved her.

Fast forward 3 years....The Cleary's recieved a letter from their wicked, wealthy Aunt Mary Carson asking them to come to her home in Austrailia and learn how to tend her sheep and work her vast farm. Mary knew she was growing old and wanted the land and Drogedha, her home, to remain in the family once she died. So they left, with the promise of prosperity and a new future. Arriving after a trying journey by land and sea, they were met at the train station by priest Father Ralph De Bricassart, Mary's trusted confidant and friend.

From the moment Father Ralph and Meggie met they were both in awe of eachother. She being only 10, he being a man of 28. They shared a spiritual bond that neither could ignore from the beginning.
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