Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Colleen McCullough - The Thorn Birds

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.

Comment: I've read this book for one of my book clubs. I have to confess that before reading I had the idea this was very sad and despairing and I've never tried it before because I feared it might be too emotional. When this book was voted to be read I was apprehensive but as the majority rules, I decided to give it a try anyway. 
The book is divided in 6 main chapters. Those chapters are also divided but mostly to create a certain timeline. The 6 chapters focus on a determined period in time in the life of the Cleary family. Each main chapter is titled with the name of one character and the things happening in the correspondent year are more focused in that person and what happens it mainly about him/her.
The story is about the Cleary family and it starts when they are very poor in New Zeland until they travel to Australia and get rich and about everything that happens to them during a long time frame. Many things happen, sad things, happy things, people die and people are born and between all those things family stays together.

Like I said, I feared this would be too emotional, but to be honest I found myself rather detached from most things. I think I only got more sad when one or two people died and I thought how unfair it was because of the way it was, completely out of purpose.
The characters had many challenges and they had to deal with many things and obviously each one had their own way of doing it. The best thing about the book was to see how everyone would act with everyone else and what their actions would mean in the long time. I was often curious to see what would happen but there were times where I felt the plot get too boring. This happened more in long description paragraphs. I felt the author had researched a lot but many things didn't have to be included and sometimes they were there just to explain a certain thing and usually that thing wasn't very happy, so I'd get troubled too soon because I knew something bad would happen.There were moments where this was done on purpose to enhance the reading experience, but not always and I resented those times.
The plot was interesting, yes. Some things made me think a lot, I believe the author does a great job in inserting details that don't seem very thoughtful but are exactly there with that aim, to make us think.
I also thought many times that people wouldn't act or speak like that. I guess it could be a cultural thing, but part of me it more inclined to believe it was just author's freedom. She also tells everything in a distant way, like it's not possible for her to have known those people, she only knew about them..strange but it's the feeling I got.
The way it ended was a bit strange too, not about what happened but in the way it was said...maybe this is just me.
In the end I liked it more than I imagined, but there are too many things in the book that keep me from wanting to read it again, although I recommend it to those who might want to experience the author's writing.

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