A classic Australian historical novel

The Thorn Birds – Colleen McCullough

The Thorn Birds is one of the books I scorned for years. It was a bestseller in its day. 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. And I have an unhealthy obsession with zombies… (“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 when they scan my bookshelves (yes, I’m that shallow), and since I have realized that every crime that can be imagined has been done to death already (sorry!), I now read books I wouldn’t have touched in the past. In other words, chic lit, romantic fiction, historical fiction and the like.

And I’ve discovered plenty of good reads in the process. This is one of them. It’s a good story that catches your interest right from the start. It provides insights into the difficult lives of people on a big Australian farm in the 20th century. As a love story it is engaging. The characters are memorable. The writing is not bad. The plot is interesting and the structure is excellent. Not a book to win literary prizes, perhaps, but a far less silly way to pass a few hours pleasantly than reading psycho-killer nonsense.

In any case, it was a famous book in its day, and I’m glad that now at last I am in a position to pass judgement on the book, rather than its readers.


Find The Thorn Birds on Amazon and at other bookstores.


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