No. 5 – Most Popular Aussie Novels of All Time
by Clayton Wehner - December 20th, 2010
36.2% of all respondents have read this book
Synopsis for The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
The Thorn Birds is a 1977 best-selling novel by Colleen McCullough, an Australian author.
Set primarily on Drogheda, a fictional sheep station in the Australian outback, The Thorn Birds is the unforgettable story of the Clearys, spanning three generations.
The book’s title refers to a mythical bird that searches for thorn trees from the day it is hatched. When it finds the perfect thorn, it impales itself, and sings the most beautiful song ever heard as it dies.
In 1983 it was adapted as a television mini-series that, during its television run March 27-30, became the United States’ second highest rated mini-series of all time.
The mini-series starred Richard Chamberlain, Rachel Ward, Barbara Stanwyck, Christopher Plummer, Bryan Brown, Mare Winningham, Philip Anglim, and Jean Simmons. It was directed by Daryl Duke.
About Colleen McCullough (Books by Colleen McCullough…)
Colleen McCullough-Robinson, AO, is an internationally acclaimed Australian author.
McCullough was born in Wellington, in outback central west New South Wales, in 1937 to James and Laurie McCullough. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-M?ori descent. During her childhood, her family moved around a great deal, and she was also “a voracious reader”. Her family eventually settled in Sydney, and she attended Holy Cross College, having a strong interest in the humanities.
Before entering tertiary education, she previously earned a living as a teacher, librarian, and journalist. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked in Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.
In 1963 she moved for four years to the United Kingdom; at the Great Ormond Street hospital in London, she met the chairman of the neurology department at Yale University who offered her a research associate job at Yale. McCullough spent ten years from April 1967 to 1976 researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. It was while at Yale that her first two books were written.
The success of these books enabled her to give up her medical-scientific career and to try and “live on her own terms” In the late 1970s, after stints in London and Connecticut, USA, she finally settled on the isolation of Norfolk Island in the Pacific, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson (then aged 33), whom she married on 13 April 1983 (she was aged 46).
The List so far…
#19 – My Place by Sally Morgan
#22 – Dirt Music by Tim Winton
#23 – Breath by Tim Winton