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
There is no such thing as a "bad" Bryce Courtenay when combined with Humphrey Bower as the reader. This one was released simultaneously with The Persimmon Tree and is a sequel to it. I strongly suspect that the first was a better book with more plot to it. It would also have been a better read if one had all the characters and events in the context of the original. Hopefully, Audible will still get it and I don't think having listened to the sequel will much damage the reading of the first book.
If you have stumbled across this review and have not listened to other Courtenay/Bower combinations, this is NOT the one to start with. Try the Power of One and the sequel of Tandia or the three part history of Australia that begins with The Potato Factory. Courtenay is a great story teller and Bower is an even better reader.
There is so much within this book that I know I will listen again this summer.
You know when I listen to a Bryce Courtenay novel they really don't seem to be stories. I feel as though I've sort of moved in with the characters. Humphrey Bower I'm sure plays a strong part in that feeling.
Yes there is mention of sex and violence but it's all done in good taste. And these subjects are not dwelt upon at any length at any rate.
And finally I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting better than just a good listen. I'm now in the position of yearning for his next penning. While waiting though I will absolutely take Fishing For Stars out again this summer. And enjoy the experience all over again. And it'll be like the first time.
I tend to relisten to all of Bryce Courtenay novels. The experience is usually better than the first time.
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
I am so disappointed in this novel. I have enjoyed every one of Bryce Courtenay's books until this unexceptional listen. Although this book was not up to Courtenay's standards, narrator Humphrey Bower is as always exceptional. This novel was not only a boring listen, but Courtenay used this book as a platform to speak to us all about environmental issues. I want to be preached at I will a purchase a nonfiction book pertaining to that issue. There were no new subjects or characters introduced in this novel, this is an author trying to squeeze some more story out of previous novels, and unfortunately not any interesting parts. If the author would have focused on Nick and Joe's younger life it could have been a fascinating read, but a more boring subject I could not have chosen myself. What a huge let down. Courtenay's books usually have such an outstanding story that they stay with you weeks after you have read them. Fishing for Stars left me gloomily listening to environmental issues on high speed, only listening out of guilt not fear that I would miss anything. I hope this author who has written so many outstanding books returns to his previous writing style.
I have enjoyed many of Bryce Courtenay's books but this one was just ho hum. What saves this book is the history about some of the places the story takes you. However, I could not believe anyone could truly love Anna, let alone stay with her as Nicolas did. I had to read the squeal (first is better). Sorry, Bryce had I know I would have let my imagination finish the story instead of reading book two.
This is a continuation of the story of Anna and Marj from the persimmon tree. It was not as exciting and really boring at times. I loved the Persimmon Tree, but wish I had left the rest to speculation. Not a good sequel.
SUMMARY, in Bryce Courtenay's own words:
"Fishing for Stars has, at its heart, two passionate, unforgettable, but very different, women. One is exotic, damaged, and shrewd; the other beautiful, determined and zealous. Both are bitter rivals for the love of the same man.
My story is set in Australia, the Pacific Islands, Japan and Indonesia during the latter half of the twentieth century. Nick Duncan is an ingenuous male with a great deal more female on his hands than he can possibly hope to understand.
The contest he is called upon to referee is the clash between the two great loves of his life: the seductive Anna Til, and the older, equally fascinating Marg Hamilton. Nick struggles between their worlds: one exploiting the world's riches for profit, the other fighting to save the environment and its creatures, large and small.
I hope you like Fishing for Stars, it is a story of ambition, destruction, love, tears and laughter, with a soupcon of hope thrown in."
Important Note: "Fishing for Stars" contains explicit sexual content and mature subject matter.
This book is the sequel to "The Persimmon Tree" published in 2007. This book does stand on it's own. But for me, I like to read books in the proper sequence. Hopefully, Audible will add this book to their website.
The narrator Humphrey Bower is excellent. In this book, his Japanese accents are superb. If you like his narration and want to read a great book, read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (also an Australian author).
If you like this book, read "The Gold Coast" by Nelson DeMille. It is a intense Romance/Thriller with erotic sex scenes and mafia (instead of Japanese Yakuza).
Say something about Yusef. Uh...he was a great horn player?
and the least interesting. I admit, it could be that I've simply heard too much of the same but I really liked the first book of this story, The Persimmon Tree. In Fishing, I was hopeful given the underlying green messages but it just didn't do it. Better are Tommy's more subtle observations (in Four Fires) of the hurt being done to the Australian ecosystem. Also, as it began, I was struck that Humphrey Bower, whose voice I have come to know and love, was not quite up to par.
I have read most of this authors stories and I have always thoroughly enjoyed them. Although I have made several attempts to finish "Fishing for Stars," I have been unable to do so. I keep thinking...can we get on with this? I'm very surprised to find one of Courtenay's stories so slow, but of all his books, I feel he was a bit unfocused on this one.
I have spent endless happy hours listening to the stories of this wonderful author. He is a gifted story teller, and every other book has been a great adventure. But this story dragged...on and on, filled with political, history and environmental lessons when all I wanted was to be entertained. Let this one go.
A continuation of the story of the characters in The Persimmon Tree, this book demonstrates Courtenay's usual masterful weaving of history, politics, romance, love, & all the complexities of human relationships, in wonderful storytelling. Humphrey Bower is an outstanding reader & brings the characters alive.
"Beautifully written, but difficult characters"
I bought this book to listen to as soon as I'd finished The Persimmon Tree, which I adored.
This book takes up Nick Duncan's story many years after the end of The Pesimmon Tree. I was immediately saddened to learn of the death of one of the characters, and was shocked by how strident another had become. While the story was just as well written as previously, and the narrator again was magnificent, I am left with a feeling of ambivalence. The innocence of the first book, in marked contrast to the war and atrocities it was set around, has been thoroughly and rudely ripped away in this book.
One part of the story which I particularly liked was Anna and Nick's visit to Japan. The style of this section was much more akin to The Persimmon Tree.
But sadly, the overall feeling I am left with at the end of this book is a distaste for all three of the main characters. Such a shame.
"Another 5 star by Bryce Courtenay"
I'm totally addicted to the words of Bryce Courtenay. Once you have listened to one book you just have to hear them all.
I loved the characters in this 'so much more than a love story' and felt comletely drawn into their lives.
However, it does follow on from 'The Persimmon Tree', which I read afterwards, but did not find on audible.
This was wonderfully read by Humphrey Bower, who finds the perfect voice for each character. A must to listen to.
"I'm now a Bryce Courtney fan"
I read this after Brother Fish and, again, become totally involved with the characters - now I want The Persimmon Tree!
There is only one drawback - the narration is great but the voices used in the two books were similar. Jack McKenzie's voice in my head in Brother Fish then became Nick Duncan etc. It took some getting over, but worth it.
"fishing for statrs"
I have read several of Bryce Courtenay's novels. He confronts difficult and sensitive issues. I applaud him.
"Bryce Courtenay - where have you been all my life?"
I've only recently discovered Bryce Courtenay. I can't get his words out of my head. Fishing for Stars is such a beautiful and tragic love triangle story. I wish I could go to Beautiful Bay! Humphrey Bower is a fantastic narrator bringing Australasia to life. I almost feel like I am eavesdropping on the conversations.
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