Pinky's Book Link

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Horn Birds

To pass time on my 75 minute commute to work (other than gasping at the gloriously, bucolic scenery at every turn), I’ve been listening to audio books. I’ve exhausted the entire works of Bill Bryson and, filled to the eye sockets with history and science, I thought I’d switch to fiction.

I’ve been meaning to read The Thorn Birds for the last thirty years and despite having it on my bookshelf, never got round to it. It seemed a bit thick and small-printed for an intellectual pygmy such as myself.

At the first ten minutes of the audio version, I was hypnotised. 

It’s rivetting. 

I was vaguely aware the plot had something to do with a priest and an illicit affair because I saw previews of the mini-series but never fancied the gaunt and slightly effeminate Richard Chamberlain so didn’t bother watching it.

Clearly one of the females in the book gets raunchy with the priest and I’m still unsure which one at this stage.

I began investigating the matter on Wikipedia but quickly snapped the computer closed with a great deal of willpower and restraint before I could spoil the story for myself.

I asked one of my colleagues, Deb, if there were any ‘passion scenes’ in the novel.

She raised one eyebrow at me and an enigmatic smile passed her lips. “Yes, Pinky, there are some ‘passion scenes’ in it, I suppose,” then she seemed to go off in a bit of a reverie, staring into the distance, her cheeks glowing with a rosy hue.

I must add that Deb told me she reads the book every six weeks or so.

The reason I asked her though, is that I tend to drive with my audio turned up so high it would make most people’s eardrums bleed out. Scotto can hear me coming from five kilometres down the road. Whilst reading Bill Bryson’s ‘Down Under’, people at traffic lights were laughing along with me at the jokes.

There are at least three sets of roadworks on my journey to work where I’m mandated to pull over beside a jaded, high-vis-jacket-wearing traffic controller. I’d hate to be sitting in my car, wantonly enjoying a particularly titillating, bodice-ripping scene whilst a burly, bearded traffic controller stares at me curiously through my windscreen.

It would be … awkward.

There was one scene in the book where the priest was dancing around naked in the rain and the word ‘flaccid’ was mentioned but that’s as bawdy as it’s been so far which is disappointing. And also the narrator is American so they pronounce 'flaccid' in a very non-sexy manner. She said it like, 'flak-sid'. That's not how it's pronounced is it? I've never been 'flaccid' so it's never been important before. Not that I think being 'flaccid' is in the slightest a sexy thing... but, anyway I seem to be getting off topic.

The truth is, I’m really looking forward to the passion scenes more than I should be but I might have to get some ear plugs to protect the traffic controllers and random livestock dotting the fields.

Have you read the Thorn Birds and did you love it?

P.S. Just to ease your mind I looked it up and you can pronounce 'flaccid' both ways.

  1. (of part of the body) soft and hanging loosely or limply, especially so as to look or feel unpleasant.

Who knew?