Nicholas Duncan is a semi-retired shipping magnate who resides in idyllic Beautiful Bay in Indonesia, where he is known as the old patriarch of the islands. He is grieving the loss of his beautiful Eurasian wife, Anna, and is suffering for the first time from disturbing flashbacks to WWII, the scene of their first meeting and early love. His other wartime lover is the striking Marg Hamilton, a powerful and influential political player in Australia who has remained close to Nick. Marg suspects Nick is suffering the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and organises for a specialist to meet with him in Sydney. But when they meet, Tony Freedman stirs long-buried emotions in Nick and the two men don't hit it off.
Nick leaves in an explosion of anger and finds himself in hospital after being hit by a car. Tony visits and encourages Nick to write as a form of therapy - to write about Anna. So he sets about writing about the woman who has inspired him since his late teens, and in doing so draws us into the compelling tale of the life he has lived post war-hero days building a shipping empire, navigating international corruption, supporting his wife's third-world education crusade and loving the women who inspire him. Set in the exotic locale of the spice islands during the excitement of post-war prosperity and possibility, and driven by strong, colourful characters, this book is truly epic in scope. Is it possible for a man to love two women?
©2008 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing
I have listened to a lot of Bryce Courtenay's books, and ALL have rated 5 stars except this one. This is the first of his books that I've found myself anxious to know "when will this be over?"
First, I could listen to Humphrey Bower read a phone book. He has become one of my favorite narrators by far. It's like sitting around a campfire listening to someone spin a great yarn. He has the range of voices to keep me interested.
As for this book, the central theme seemed to be Nick's sex life and Anna's sexual dysfunction. It kept coming back to that over and over and over and over again. Enough already!
There were other parts of the book that were interesting, but they were overshadowed by the excessive recurrence of the sex angle. (And by that I don't mean to imply that the book is overly sexually explicit, because it isn't any more so than his other books.)
Courtenay has proven himself a gifted author, and I will continue to listen to his books, but I think he was either lazy or uninspired on this one.
An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.
Read all you can for he is worthy of your interest and while he may not have long on this mortal coil there will be a legacy that not many achieve
Among the best
It completed "The Persimon Tree"
Have listened to many and this one ranks with the best
Love the combination of Bryce Courtenay & Humphrey Bower
Courtenay and Bower are born storytellers. I listened to The Persimmon Tree, and immediately followed up with this sequel, Fishing for Stars.
I enjoyed them both immensely, especially the Javanese and Japanese historical aspects, which were new to me and very interesting. Also, the insights into Japanese language and customs were interesting and entertaining.
Nick was, typically of Courtenay's characters, rather too good to be true, while Anna was beguiling, her father disgusting, the natives all very good folk and the immigrant settlers all very bad. Nevertheless, this can be overlooked in the interests of a most entertaining story. A lovely, long, good one.
Mr Bower is a brilliant narrator, and I became so engrossed in the various voices, which were constant and unflagging, that i actually forgot it was all being read by one person.
I found there was a little too much repetition, although its understandable in the second book, for those readers who hadn't read the first.
What really bored and irritated me though, was the way the author used the latter part of the novel 'Fishing for Stars' as a soapbox to preach environmentalism. On and on and on ..... and then there's this little frog you're welcome to send donations for ..... by all means, but perhaps this isn't right platform?
I am sympathetic to the cause, and very aware of the problem. I live in a country where the struggle against the savage and barbaric poaching of rhino and also elephant is a constant and heartbreaking struggle.
IMHO, too much of the frogs, rivers and environmentalism detracted from the novel and felt rammed down my throat, but i guess the point was well made and for a good cause.
You still cant go wrong with Bryce Courtenay and Humphrey Bower!
BC's books are great. And this narrator is one of the best, if not THE best. But BC has a tendency to slip into sanctimony at times. The story starts strong but, for me, toward the end especially, it gets too preachy about womens' rights, the environment, capitalism...
it's fine when the characters play out their flaws and talents but the multi page lectures on what's right and wrong were too many and too obvious.
As always, it's worth a listen, but not the best
Everything. He is a master
Having heard other Bryce Courtenay books, including The Persimmon Tree ( which is excellent and to which this is the sequel) I was excited to read the completed story of Anna. Unfortunately readers weren't warned that to do so would cost them a lot of time while the writer tried to catch everyone else up. So first and foremost, expect a lot of rehash if you've read The Persimmon Tree.
The second complaint is almost worse. As another reviewer mentioned, get ready for the attempt to be converted to a tree hugger. When I listen to audio books, I want to be taken to other places, to be immersed in entertainment and enjoyment. I do NOT purchase audio books so I get get someone else's political take on an issue. This is not entertainment since if you agree, it's like a sermon to the choir and if you disagree it's like being held captive while someone else beats your brain with their political views.
There are redeeming values to this book, but these two issues irked me so much that I was sincerely disappointed.
This is my seventh Courtenay book, and I am starting to pick up on a trend. Unfortunately too late as I struggled to finish this one. I have now gone through Courtenay's book series and have found the first book in each series by far the best. An easy five star. The last book of his series, which this one is, are painfully slow, little action, and a way for Courtenay to get all of the historical facts, he had not used to that point, into the series. I almost can't remember how much I liked the Persimmon Tree. The story plays second fiddle to the need to douse you with historical info with a dull development of the characters. Taking a break from Courtenay after this one. I will stick to his single book efforts and stay away from any future series of books. Bower as usual is great and was the only way I could have finished this book.
For me this is a type of book that always sits in your mind. Incredible story, I fell in love with the main characters in the book 1 and it was interesting to follow their story in the sequel. Can't stop. The narration is excellent! Highly recommend.
I was so impressed with Humphrey Bower's naration. His ability to portray many nationalities with accurate accents really added to my enjoyment of this book. This story of Bryce Courtenay's is so entertaining, I really appreciate the research that assists the author weaving interesting historical,
geographical, and sociological facts into a great story.
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