Monday, May 2, 2016
96. "The Thornbirds" by Colleen McCullough
McCullough, Colleen. The Thornbirds. New York: Avon, 1977.
Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love
The Thornbirds follows the family lineage of the Clearys--an Irish family transplanted first to New Zealand and then to the Australian outback. The novel begins in the year 1915 and ends in 1969 and follows three generations of Clearys as they engage in scandalous affairs, fight in wars, and survive terrible tragedies.
WHAT I LOVED:
Justine. I absolutely loved Justine, ferocious, gusty, flippant, and sorrowful Justine. Justine is someone I would want in my life as she would offer endless entertainment and unwavering loyalty and friendship once you cracked her outer shell.
WHAT I LIKED:
McCullough writes delicious prose with some of her phrasing and words causing me to pause and re-read and drink in the artistry. I enjoyed seeing history played out in the story of a single family. The book includes depictions of WWII and the tumultuous sixties--two historical eras that intrigue me.
WHAT I COULD DO WITHOUT:
There got to be a point in the novel where I skimmed over descriptions of the Australian environment. Descriptions of the land are frequent and detailed. This is wonderful up to a point but I feel a lot of this "scene setting" could have been cut out.
I also could not stomach the relationship between Meggie and Ralph. In no way could I feel anything but revolted by that story line.
Readers who enjoy historical fiction and time-spanning narratives (like Don Quixote or anything by James Mischner).
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR:
Readers who want something fast paced, or action packed. You must be a patient and involved reader to enjoy this one.
3 darts out of 5