I got into a discussion at the library last week about great family sagas. The woman I was talking with said that her book group unanimously voted The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough as the best of the best. The book was first published in 1977 and has sold more than 33 million copies worldwide. The TV miniseries starring Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward and Christopher Plummer followed in 1983. The show won many awards including six primetime Emmys.
Here’s a summary provided by the publisher:
“Colleen McCullough’s sweeping saga of dreams, struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love in the Australian Outback has enthralled readers the world over.
This is the chronicle of three generations of Clearys, ranchers carving lives from a beautiful, hard land while contending with the bitterness, frailty, and secrets that penetrate their family. Most of all, it is the story of only daughter Meggie and her lifelong relationship with the haunted priest Father Ralph de Bricassart—an intense joining of two hearts and souls that dangerously oversteps sacred boundaries of ethics and dogma.
A poignant love story, a powerful epic of struggle and sacrifice, a celebration of individuality and spirit, Colleen McCullough’s acclaimed masterwork remains a monumental literary achievement—a landmark novel to be cherished and read again and again.”
I remember when this all came out, but I never read it. I think I would like to. At 692 pages, it’s a big book, but we all shouldn’t be afraid of long books, right? I think I’d like to buy my own paperback copy so I could crack the spine as I read.
Have you read The Thorn Birds? Have you watched the miniseries? Would you commit to a book this long? Leave a comment and let me know!
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