Reading progress update: I've read 69 out of 692 pages.

The Thorn Birds - Colleen McCullough

“Perfection in anything,” she said, “is unbearably dull. Myself, I prefer a touch of imperfection.” He laughed, looking at her in admiration tinged with envy. She was a remarkable woman.

Mary Carson is such a great character. She stands out and I love how McCulloch shows her having fun with Ralph:

So from the pedestal of her age and her position Mary Carson felt quite safe in enjoying Father Ralph; she liked matching her wits against a brain as intelligent as her own, she liked outguessing him because she was never sure she actually did outguess him.

“Getting back to what you were saying about Gilly not being the epicentre of the Archbishop Papal Legate’s map,” she said, settling deeply into her chair, “what do you think would shake that reverend gentleman sufficiently to make Gilly the pivot of his world?”

The priest smiled ruefully. “Impossible to say. A coup of some sort? The sudden saving of a thousand souls, a sudden capacity to heal the lame and the blind . . . But the age of miracles is past.”

“Oh, come now, I doubt that! It’s just that He’s altered His technique. These days He uses money.”

“What a cynic you are! Maybe that’s why I like you so much, Mrs. Carson.”

“My name is Mary. Please call me Mary.” 


And, of course, Ralph having a bit fun with Mary Carson:

“At this minute I’m minus a head stockman.”


“Five in the past year. It’s getting hard to find a decent man.”

“Well, rumour hath it you’re not exactly a generous or a considerate employer.”

“Oh, impudent!” she gasped, laughing. “Who bought you a brand new Daimler so you wouldn’t have to ride?”

“Ah, but look how hard I pray for you!”