Colleen McCullough 1938?–
McCullough is best known for her popular novel, The Thorn Birds (1977), a generational saga set in Australia that was made into a television miniseries. Because of its romantic nature and entertaining narrative, The Thorn Birds has been termed an Australian Gone with the Wind.
McCullough's first novel, Tim (1974), sensitively explores a love relationship between a spinster and a younger retarded man. Although well received critically, it did not attain the best-selling status of either The Thorn Birds or An Indecent Obsession (1981), her third novel.
McCullough admits that she does not strive to create great literature, and most critics agree that the value of her fiction lies in its ability to entertain. They find her plots engrossing although somewhat contrived, her characterizations adequate, and her descriptions of Australian life and landscape skillful. Her thematic concern centers on the conflict between love and duty.
(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 81-84.)