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
The family cook
I loved this book so much I am listening to it again! Bryce Courtney is the best story teller ever...never becoming too wordy, but not leaving out details that give you the complete story. You feel the emotion of each person presented in the book, then Humphrey Bower gives them life with his voice.
Anna was my favorite character because she is so smart for her young years and stands her ground for what she believes in. You can feel her compassion for other people and her hate for others. She is such a brave person during the time of the war.
He is, by a long ways, the best narrator in the Audible Library. He brings the person to life with the variety of accents - he is a master! Very few narrators have the ability to get the emotion across to the listener like Humphrey Bower. He becomes the character.
There were parts of the book that made me laugh and other parts that made me cry.
That is the beauty of Bryce Courtney's books. You never want them to end...and thankfully we get to read more about Anna and Nicholas.
This story is a perfect combination of history and rich, unique characters. Unlike any other story, I was enthralled with the story and loved the narrator. I felt like I knew these characters well especially with the excellent voices/accents that the narrator seamlessly executed. Didn't want it to end.
The often desperate state that the character Anna found herself in and her ability to rise above her circumstances were a highlight for me.
Love, youthful innocence, war, tropical islands and sailing the high seas are among the topics I really enjoyed during this amazing saga.
Well presentation of a great story
Yes, even though my interest was already great because I lived in Southeast Asia for years many years ago.
Yes, with great accurate details
No complaint with the narrator.
I like to go shopping....but as I age the distance I can travel is growing shorter.
I really enjoy this author and this book as much or more than all of the books he had written. Yes, I will listen again and again to catch the details of this multi-tapistry creation.
The readers will miss something special if they don't read all of this authors books for the history, the culture and the personal relationships that all lead to a memorable moments with excellent endings.
An absorbing tale about WWII in the South Pacific. The narrator, who has an Aussie accent, does a superb job. The story is complex and deals with the horrors faced by a young woman living under the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies, in parallel with the story of her admirer, a young man who escapes the invasion to reach Australia. A thoroughly satisfying read, including the ending.
touching, informative, historical
hard to pick a favorite but the two leading roles are fascinating and life affirming
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!
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.
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?
It was nicely narrated and interesting. The main male character was unreasonably mature, knowledgeable and too good to be true for his 18 years
Great narrator easy to listen to
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,
No. One author doesn't ruin it for the others.
His accent. His ability to distinguish about 50 different voices.
Anna's story was interesting, lousy writing notwithstanding.
Avid, curious reader; always on the look-out for an excellent story.
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!
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
Of course, the protagonist, what was his name?
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.
I would highly, and enthusiastically, recommend this book for a powerful escape from life.
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