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 love Bryce Courtenay's books and especially enjoyed The Persimmon Tree. Unfortunately, I wish I had left this one on the shelf. It's as if Mr. Courtenay was told to weave some more "modern" topics in his books. This one has it all: environmentalism, sexual dysfunction, breast cancer, superhuman woman and greed. I imagine that he Googled "current issues" and picked the top 10 and made a game of including them all in one book. The whole story is simply ridiculous and the book is very weak compared to his other books.
Humphrey Bower is such an exceptional narrator that I'm convinced that he's the only reason I was able to finish this book.
DOn't let this book turn you away from Bryce Courtenay. Every other book I've read I have enjoyed, especially The Australian Triology.
This novel is a continuation of The Persimmon Tree which was a terrific novel.
Strangely this book is not up to par for Bryce Courtney. I have read most of his novels and thoroughly enjoyed them. He is a wonderful story teller.
I can only guess that his illness was sadly affecting him when this one was written. At times this one is repetitious and long winded. I am not sure why he went onto the extra bit about the Franklin River protests. It was not necessary for the sequel to The Persimmon Tree. Having said this I am not sorry that I listened to this story and I am still a fan of Bryce Courtney.
Humphrey Bower the narrator is superb and adds a great deal to making it entertaining.
A real story instead of instructions for the green movement and all the ills of the world
I loved The Persimmon Tree. I will give it another try due to my first read
He is magical performer. I will seek out his performances in the future
It was the unsatisfactory conclusion of the Persimmon Tree. I was thoroughly educated with the green movements history in Australia, old growth timber, the need to care for frogs, statistics of rape, Yakuza's role in Japanese society, Women's right movement. Mistreatment of American Blacks, and indigenous populations in the south pacific, Australia and Japanese WWII POWs. The inherent horrors of big business with their plunders of the environment and rational for civil disobedience.
Mr. Bower preformed it superbly though.
Nicholas Ducan was strong independent character in the Persimmon Tree. In Fishing for Stars he was an emasculated, "purse holding" character spending his time placating two women. With all the Soap Box preaching, it was hard to get through this one.
Definitely, but this was not his best work.
Bryce got us lost in the weeds of international politics and business history. It tells the story of that region of the world but was missing the usual Dickensian characterizations that I love. True, the "Persimmon Tree" needed a sequel, but it just seems like Bryce lost his story-telling mojo on this one.
Humphrey Bower is his usual superb best at accents of all sorts.
LOTS OF TEARS
THE STORY OF WHAT WAR DOES TO PEOPLE. NOT TO MENTION THE TERRIBLE THINGS THAT PARENTS CAN SOMETIMES DO THAT PERMANENTLY AFFECT OUR MINDS.
ANNA, BY FAR SHE HAD EVERY REASON TO BE THE TYPE OF PERSON SHE TURNED OUT TO BE.
YES!!!!! MOSTLY CRY. IT ALSO CAUSED ME TO LOSE SLEEP AND BECOME VERY DEPRESSED.
IF THIS AUTHORS' GOAL WAS TO CAUSE ME TO DESPISE MARG AND DISLIKE A SELFISH SELF CENTERED MAN, WHO BELIEVED HE COULD/SHOULD HAVE IT ALL, THEN IT WORKED. NICK WAS SO INTO HIS OWN SELF I WANTED SOMEONE TO KNOCK HIM OUT....AND THEN DO AWAY WITH MARG. WHILE THE BOOK HELD MY ATTENTION (MAINLY BECAUSE OF ANNA) I WOULD NEVER CONSIDER IT FOR A REREAD.
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
Report Inappropriate Content