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
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.
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!!
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.
I would listen to Humphrey Bower read the phone book. Just a wonderful voice in all parts.
Anna is the most complex of the characters for me. I love strong female characters with the will and stamina and grit to survive.
This was my first but definitely not my last.
Nick I think because the Australian openness and charm would be delightful.
Loved it all.
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.
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.
Addicted to books in all forms.
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!
I'm a new Audible member, so it is my favorite so far.
Nick Duncan, the protagonist, was very well developed, and I liked lack of braggery.
First time listener of Humphrey Bower. Will look for him again. I think he did a great job on Persimmon Tree
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.
I didn't know ebony was the heart of the persimmon tree, did you?
The speaker was so involved in the story and his voice showed emotion of the main charicter.
Nick, he grewup before your eyes
A view of the invasion of Indonesia we knew nothing about.
I was already a Bryce Courtney and Humphrey Bower fan, but this book surpassed those I had "read" before. I highly reccomend it!
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