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The Persimmon Tree | [Bryce Courtenay]

The Persimmon Tree

The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.
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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping saga from Bryce Courtenay, Australia's most popular author.

The Persimmon Tree opens in Indonesia in 1942 on the cusp of Japanese invasion and the evacuation of Batavia (Jakarta) by the Dutch. Seventeen-year-old Nicholas Duncan is on holiday there, in pursuit of an exotic butterfly known as the Magpie Crow. It's an uncertain, dangerous time to be in Indonesia, and Nick's options of getting out are fast dwindling. Amidst the fear and chaos he falls in love with Anna, the beautiful daughter of a Dutch acquaintance, and she nicknames him 'Mr Butterfly'.

To assist in the escape, Anna's father gifts Nick his prized yacht, Vlermuis, to sail to Australia. Singapore has just fallen, the Japanese have made it to Sumatra, and the waters are dangerous. Vlermuis is not long out of Batavia when Nick is forced ashore for repairs. He witnesses the bloody execution of shipwrecked Allied soldiers by natives, and while burying what's left of the bodies, Nick notices one wounded soldier has escaped death, and he carries him back to his yacht.

The rescued soldier is a lower-class Irish Catholic American called Kevin Judge. He has no sailing experience, but he assists Nick in navigating through some dramatic storms and the two form an unlikely and lifelong friendship.

©2007 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2007 Bolinda Publishing

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (1604 )
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4.6 (1166 )
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Performance
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  •  
    El Jay Tucson, Az 06-14-12
    El Jay Tucson, Az 06-14-12 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What an enjoyable audible!"

    I really enjoyed the story but wonder if that is partially due to Mr. Bower's performance! What a narrator???.a five star plus performance. The story is a very interesting side to WWII that you don't often hear or know much about. Enjoyed the history as well as the interesting characters of the story. Have to research what else Humphrey Bower has narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    06-11-12
    06-11-12 Listener Since 2008
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    "Brilliant!!"
    If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

    Bryce Courtenay's storyline and Humphrey Bower's narration of this book was incredible. I thoroughly enjoyed this and found the length gave me time to get emotionally involved with the characters. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves Australian history and Courtenay's writing. Simply brilliant!!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charlotte Alexandria, VA, United States 06-06-12
    Charlotte Alexandria, VA, United States 06-06-12 Member Since 2006
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    "WWII from the Australian perspective"

    This story of a young Australian man and a young Dutch-Javanese woman who fall in love just before WWI and become separated soon thereafter was interesting and brought me new information on the war in the Pacific. It was told from two perspectives - his and hers - who had quite different experiences during the war. While some aspects of the storyline stretched credibility almost to the breaking point, I found myself still wanting to know what happened next. After resolving many crises in almost unbelievable ways the author leaves the final question unanswered. When I realized the book had ended, I cried "What?!"

    The narrator was excellent. He managed to make the characters live through his use of accents and tone. I always knew who was speaking. I would select this narrator again without hesitation.

    This is a decent listen, but I am not sure I would buy another book by this author.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Pompei Dana Point, CA, US 05-21-12
    Linda Pompei Dana Point, CA, US 05-21-12
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    "Beautiful story, incredible perfomance"
    Would you listen to The Persimmon Tree again? Why?

    I would listen to Humphrey Bower read the phone book. Just a wonderful voice in all parts.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Anna is the most complex of the characters for me. I love strong female characters with the will and stamina and grit to survive.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This was my first but definitely not my last.


    If you could take any character from The Persimmon Tree out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Nick I think because the Australian openness and charm would be delightful.


    Any additional comments?

    Loved it all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States 05-20-12
    Kathryn MINNEAPOLIS, MN, United States 05-20-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Historical fiction never so interesting!"

    I love Bryce Courtenay! I haver read a few others and each one is better than the last. Not only does the story entertain, but the historical facts and interesting settings make me feel like I have gone somewhere and learned something new.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frances Philadelphia, PA, United States 05-15-12
    Frances Philadelphia, PA, United States 05-15-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Beginning well but then dives"
    What disappointed you about The Persimmon Tree?

    The writing is okay except the sex scenes are so boyish and dull.
    The characters become increasingly ridiculous and the ending is so unbelievable as to be pathetic.
    Too much to slog through for a plot that could have been good.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherrie Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada 05-08-12
    Sherrie Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada 05-08-12 Member Since 2012

    Addicted to books in all forms.

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    "You Never Go Wrong With This Duo"

    Courtenay and Bower make for an amazing audio book combination and it was proven to me again with this book. I played it on a road trip and it was the first book where both my partner and myself did not want to turn the book off or take breaks from it. We even listened while eating meals. If you are looking for a great audio book experience you can not go wrong with this one!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen United States 04-30-12
    Eileen United States 04-30-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Epic story - maybe too epic"
    Where does The Persimmon Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I'm a new Audible member, so it is my favorite so far.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nick Duncan, the protagonist, was very well developed, and I liked lack of braggery.


    Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    First time listener of Humphrey Bower. Will look for him again. I think he did a great job on Persimmon Tree


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Not especially, but there were many passages that piqued my interest to continue reading about the part of the world where all this took place.


    Any additional comments?

    I didn't know ebony was the heart of the persimmon tree, did you?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bob Vancouver, WA, United States 04-27-12
    Bob Vancouver, WA, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2011
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    6
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    "wonderful read"
    What made the experience of listening to The Persimmon Tree the most enjoyable?

    The speaker was so involved in the story and his voice showed emotion of the main charicter.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nick, he grewup before your eyes


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    Nick


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A view of the invasion of Indonesia we knew nothing about.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann B. Bass Miami, FL United States 04-18-12
    Ann B. Bass Miami, FL United States 04-18-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Superb story and peformance"

    I was already a Bryce Courtney and Humphrey Bower fan, but this book surpassed those I had "read" before. I highly reccomend it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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