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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 (1774 )
5 star
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4.3 (1310 )
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4.6 (1316 )
5 star
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    reader54 03-11-12
    reader54 03-11-12 Member Since 2010
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    24
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "educational escapism"
    If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

    touching, informative, historical


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    hard to pick a favorite but the two leading roles are fascinating and life affirming


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

    Probably Anna.


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

    Lead man. He is clever, resourceful, dedicated, well educated, experienced in hand to hand combat, a crack shot, and according to the book incredibly good looking!


    Any additional comments?

    When i saw the length of this book I was initially put off. However, the story and performance were so good I found myself being relieved to have a long train, plane or car ride so I could listen to it for a good stretch. Very engrossing and you really felt that the characters were three dimensional people. It was also exceptionally interesting to learn about this small part of the war in this particular part of the world. By the end of the book I felt I knew something I hadn't when I began, and isn't that why we read books really? not just for entertainment (and this was plenty entertaining!) but to learn new things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cookie Anacortes, WA, United States 02-22-12
    Cookie Anacortes, WA, United States 02-22-12 Member Since 2014

    Cookie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Ugh, what a trial"

    Sorry, I do not understand all the great reviews. At the end of the first download, I am loathed to go on, I can't stand the sex scenes. I don't want to know anymore about "wee willy" or "jumping jack". Yuk, I am not a prude, but really? Can't we just get back to the story? Romance?

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wendy Queenstown, New Zealand 02-21-12
    Wendy Queenstown, New Zealand 02-21-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Great way to learn of history"
    What did you like best about The Persimmon Tree? What did you like least?

    It was nicely narrated and interesting. The main male character was unreasonably mature, knowledgeable and too good to be true for his 18 years


    What was most disappointing about Bryce Courtenay’s story?

    see above


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

    Great narrator easy to listen to


    If this book were a movie would you go see it?

    possibly


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 02-20-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "Worst Book Ever"
    What disappointed you about The Persimmon Tree?

    I can't understand, when authors write how difficult it is to get their books published, how this one could have made it through. There are a couple of interesting stories buried deep beneath mountains of laborious description, including an awful lot of trivia the narrator, a main character, could not have known. He delivers lines such as,


    Has The Persimmon Tree turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No. One author doesn't ruin it for the others.


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    His accent. His ability to distinguish about 50 different voices.


    You didn???t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Anna's story was interesting, lousy writing notwithstanding.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarra Lansing, MI, United States 01-10-12
    Sarra Lansing, MI, United States 01-10-12

    Avid, curious reader; always on the look-out for an excellent story.

    ratings
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    3
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Captivating and thoroughly engrossing story"
    What did you love best about The Persimmon Tree?

    The exotic adventure of it all: a multi-talented protagonist (a linguist, athlete, loving, understanding - too gorgeous for words), an oriental location, a deep love that is almost unattainable, and a fabulous story with war and danger and suffering!


    What other book might you compare The Persimmon Tree to and why?

    I find Courtney quite unique - such realism (both weakness and strength in the characters), nuanced feeling and exquisite story-telling. Power of One also had me at


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

    Of course, the protagonist, what was his name?


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

    There were so many, but of course, after so many years, the lovers finally find each other even though they've both been through incredible suffering and injury.


    Any additional comments?

    I would highly, and enthusiastically, recommend this book for a powerful escape from life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-22-11

    I listen to audiobooks mainly while commuting 90 minutes a day and when walking. Sometimes when knitting.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting viewpoint on WWII in Pacific"

    Enjoyed the Australian view of WWII and life in the Pacific Islands. Ending seemed very abrupt however - like the author just thought that was enough and ended the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy Bloomfield, MI, United States 12-20-11
    Nancy Bloomfield, MI, United States 12-20-11 Member Since 2007

    Never got to go to a library until the age of 8 ! Since then I have become a book addict. History, biography and fiction all thrill me.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Epic and Appealing"
    What made the experience of listening to The Persimmon Tree the most enjoyable?

    This story covered many miles and never a dull moment. The narrator did a lovely job with many accents and intonations. Learned alot of geography as I was rivited to the story.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The personalities of this story were well written...I may have hated some but I understood why.


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

    Loved


    Who was the most memorable character of The Persimmon Tree and why?

    I would enjoy being as smart as Marg...and as kind.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to this when you have a time consumming job to do and time will fly!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel Arlington, TX, United States 12-20-11
    Daniel Arlington, TX, United States 12-20-11 Member Since 2014

    Hopelessly addicted to Audio Books! I started listening as a distraction to the aggravation of driving, now I listen all the time :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Leaves You Wanting More"
    If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

    Survival Love Story


    What other book might you compare The Persimmon Tree to and why?

    Unbroken, another good Story of Survival during WWII, this one by Laura Hillenbrand


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A nice flavor of the main character's Australian heritage.


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

    Nick of course.... A truly unique character, a man's man and a ladies man - one for the ages!


    Any additional comments?

    I listened to this book due to the good reviews, and I'll add my good review to the list. I actually thought this was based on a true story, but came to find out it is a fictitious account based on true History. It is a bit unbelievable to some extent (oddly enough it would only be believable if in fact it WAS based on actual accounts - the only reason for 4-stars versus 5-stars), but still a terrific story and great performance by the reader/narrator - Highly recommended and I will listen to the next book in the story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 10-31-11
    Julie 10-31-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Excellent read."
    What did you love best about The Persimmon Tree?

    The story behind the seeds.


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

    It is hard to pick a favorite character. I felt connected to several of the characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miriam Gozani 10-20-11 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    86
    3
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    "gripping,interesting, couldn't "put it down""
    If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

    Historicaly interesting, flowing story,


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Nick - of course. Down to earth, solid, honest, modest, huge heart, not to mention a looker.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I loved Humphrey Bower's accents and the life he added to the many colorful characters in the book


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed a lot and will miss Nick, Anna, the


    Any additional comments?

    The book gave me an insight on the historical events of world war 2 in the pacific, of the Javanese under Japanese occupation and of the Dutch colonization of the islands in the area. I didn't know much of these events and after listening to the book I was curious and read a bit more about this part of history. Food for thought.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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