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The Thorn Birds

Narrated by: Greta Scacchi
Length: 6 hrs and 17 mins
4 out of 5 stars (19 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sometimes when he didn't know he was being watched, Meggie would look at him and try desperately to imprint his face upon her brain's core. And he would turn to find her watching him, a look in his eyes of haunted grief, a doomed look. She understood the implicit message, or thought she did; he must go, back to the Church and his duties. Never again with the same spirit, perhaps, but more able to serve. For only those who have slipped and fallen know the vicissitudes of the way.
©1977 Colleen McCullough (P)2007 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"One of those books that will be read as long as women love, and men care." ( Daily Mirror)
"I simply could not put it down. If it hadn't been wrenched from me at mealtimes, I'd have starved." ( Daily Mail)
"A true epic....It's easy to see why this stunning tale has been called the Australian Gone With the Wind." ( Daily Telegraph)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Vanessa
  • GAYNDAH, Australia
  • 06-25-17

Brilliant book

A wonderful storyline with great character development and a plot of twists and turns with a wonderful undertone of life and love. A romance of reality .... love it❤❤❤

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Unrewarding

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Maybe someone without any expectations. I had so many and looked forward to finally reading it and was surprised to find that it was quite boring. I know it's not allowed to say that about this great book but that is how I felt. I was surprisingly bored

What was most disappointing about Colleen McCullough’s story?

One expects so much from these modern classics. It is one of those rare books which has the ultimate humiliation of being surpassed by its film adaptaion. it. I watched it in the eighties when I was a child and was still only learning English but I could not get over it. I'm not a film person and I sleep through most movies. I recently slept through the Da Vinci Code movie but I'd stay awake until 3am reading the book. So I was really surprised when the book disappointed me so much. The story was just not as engaging as I had thought it wasd going to be. It turned out to be a very love ordinary story unlike what it is pitched as. There is nothing memorable about this book

What didn’t you like about Greta Scacchi’s performance?

Its not that it was particularly bad. It just wasn't memorable

What character would you cut from The Thorn Birds?

Thats just it. None of the characters were engaging enough for me to truly care about loving or hating them.

Any additional comments?

It just wasn't for me I guess. My expectations were too high and it disapointed me. I expected a book in stakes of Grapes of Wrath or The Picture of Dorian Gray but it falls far short and is just a book that I forgot as soon as I finished it.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Abridged is like cut from alive body

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

yes, but i'd turn their mind to the abridgement staff

What other book might you compare The Thorn Birds to and why?

As it was well noticed The thorn birds is an australian Gone With the Wind

How could the performance have been better?

less exaggerated pronounce

Was The Thorn Birds worth the listening time?

Yes, but the story is worth more listening time.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A lovely story

This was a most enjoyable read. I wished it carried on longer, yet it ends perfectly.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Jude P.
  • 06-04-16

Hideous abridgement! Don't bother!

What would have made The Thorn Birds better?

It felt like there was massive areas missed out.

Would you ever listen to anything by Colleen McCullough again?

I love this story, but it just felt massacred!

What does Greta Scacchi bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Brilliantly narrated! The voices really brought the characters to life!

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disappointment!

Any additional comments?

I hated this version of a fantastic story!

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • MRS V J WILSON
  • 12-11-16

Abridged version

I had not realised this was an abridged version, having read the Thorn Birds 3 times previously - it has always been one of my favourite books, however, I was disappointed that it was not the full version. It was read beautifully - I just wished it had been the full version.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-27-17

Disappointed

Hugely disappointed to find this was a severely abridged version, a fact not mentioned in any of the description and only found in tiny writing on the side of the book image on close inspection once I realised there were huge chunks of the original book missing. Not only abridged, but poorly so. Don't waste your money or your credits.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • mark chilver
  • 02-19-17

Epic love story

What a great way to spend time. This is a heartbreaking tale. I loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Dave Broomfield
  • 04-07-19

Need the unabridged version

I loved this series back in the day when it was on tv. I really enjoyed listening to this book and Greta Scacchi narration is great but it’s too short. I would have given 5 stars all round for the full version.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • H
  • 03-02-19

Already listening again!

I remember seeing clips on the tv years ago when my mother was entranced by the story - and now I understand the appeal. Multi-dimensional characters and fabulous descriptions of scenery create a sense of complete immersion into the actions and emotions of the characters. Greta Scacchi's narration is smooth, modulated and engaged and an absolute delight to listen to.
Looking forward to hearing more from both author and narrator.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • rhonamcm
  • 01-24-19

The Thorn Birds

An old favourite sought out when feeling nostalgic. Beautifully read, but why oh why abridged ?

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Linh
  • 04-15-17

This is a fake 'The Thorn Birds'

Any additional comments?

The Thorn Birds is my favorite book ever, I've got a paperback book, a DVD of its movie, and I wanted to have an audio version so that I can always listen to, especially when I'm on the go. I purchased this audio book with excitement but it turned out to be a HUGE disappointment. About a half of the story was skipped with all of the critical, beautiful parts and conversations... gone. What a waste!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 01-25-18

This is NOT the full novel

The Thorn birds is one of my favourite novels so I was extremely disappointed after listening, to find out that this version of the novel leaves out multiple key paragraphs, and whole scenes out of the book. Unfortunately, upon searching, it seems that audible doesn’t actually offer the real version, or any other version at all of this book. Very disappointing. Going to try another audio book service to see if I can find it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Valentina
  • 11-15-16

Disappointed

I absolutely love the printed book, it is definitely my favorite book since I was a teenager, so I really looked forward to listening to it. But I was really disappointed that the audio version had left out at least 1/3 of the book, the listeners are missing out on so much! Why would you cut the story short?! The original narrative adds so much depths to the characters, to the storyline...and it's all missing in this audiobook!
The narrator wasn't great either, at times cringeworthy. Disappointed again.
I wish there was a full version, with a different narrator.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mrs
  • 07-30-15

A bit of Australia

A surprisingly captivating story which I really enjoyed as a new resident of Australia I enjoyed hearing about now familiar scenery, animals and culture and enjoyed it all the more for that.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Tracey Rice
  • 03-24-19

Not what I expected

Found I longed for the connection between Meggie and Ralph. Couldn't feel it in the written word at all. Great did a wonderful job as narrator. Colleen's description of Drogheda was beautiful and it became a living entity for me. However, doesn't happen to me often but much preferred the mini series

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-16-19

poor reading of a great book<br />

I have read the thornbirds myself 3 times, so listening to an incomplete version was very disappointing if a book has been condensed then it should be clearly stated.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Brigid Stamper
  • 10-23-18

Disappointing

Very disappointing and at times disjointed. Having read it many years was looking forward to listening to it many key events left out.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Megan
  • 07-18-18

This is ABRIDGED - i.e. shortened down greatly

This was the first time I've come across an abridged audio book. More sections than not are cut out so that only the crucial storyline remains for only the main character. This makes it much quicker and shorter to listen to but so many of my favourite parts/whole character storylines are totally gone.

The performance of the book is excellent and it is edited shorter in a way that first time listeners wouldn't notice how much is gone. But I'd much rather listen to the full book- I hope it gets added to Audible's collection one day.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-27-18

Riveting!

I just loved this book! I had seen the film & thought that might ruin it but it didn't! Congratulations to Colleen McCullough!
Greta read this book magnificently!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kariyn Kendall
  • 01-17-18

Love the book not a fan.of the shorter narrated version.

I was excited to download this classic favourite but not happy that this audio version skips key paragraphs in the story. A new listener wouldn't notice. However, 3 hours in and I have noticed at least 3 key scenes missing, if not more.