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The Thorn Birds

· The Novel ·

One of the common themes of popular literature has always been the guilt-ridden love of a priest for a woman, requited by a passion that multiplies its strength due to the seduction exerted by “prohibition”. Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds (1977) was certainly the most successful example of this genre, as confirmed by the fact that two televised mini-series (1983 and 1996) were even based on it, with maximum audience ratings. The plot is predictable: against the background of a mid-20th century Australian family saga, a passion develops between an obviously handsome young priest and a beautiful unfortunate young girl. The priest, a prey to many uncertainties, chooses his vocation, more through ambition than through his love of Jesus, the poor girl has to abandon her dream and bring up the son born of their union who, becoming a priest, dies in an accident. A great melodrama, therefore, in which the priesthood is seen as a prestigious career rather than a true mission, whereas the woman’s love, while transgressive, appears truer. (@LuceScaraffia)

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