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 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.
I listen to audiobooks mainly while commuting 90 minutes a day and when walking. Sometimes when knitting.
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.
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.
The personalities of this story were well written...I may have hated some but I understood why.
I would enjoy being as smart as Marg...and as kind.
Listen to this when you have a time consumming job to do and time will fly!
Hopelessly addicted to Audio Books! I started listening as a distraction to the aggravation of driving, now I listen all the time :)
Survival Love Story
Unbroken, another good Story of Survival during WWII, this one by Laura Hillenbrand
A nice flavor of the main character's Australian heritage.
Nick of course.... A truly unique character, a man's man and a ladies man - one for the ages!
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.
The story behind the seeds.
It is hard to pick a favorite character. I felt connected to several of the characters.
Historicaly interesting, flowing story,
Nick - of course. Down to earth, solid, honest, modest, huge heart, not to mention a looker.
I loved Humphrey Bower's accents and the life he added to the many colorful characters in the book
I laughed a lot and will miss Nick, Anna, the
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.
everytime I hiked into the hills of Yorkshire or the forests of Hertfordshire, i could not wait to press play and just be with the story.........it was just fantastic, downloaded the next chapter and my iPod and I cannot wait to head off into the hills again!
I've now read three of Courtenay's novels and found them all extremely interesting Novels (Power of One and Brother Fish are the other two). I will most likely go through all of his novels. An added benefit is the fact that they are read (so far) by Humphrey Bower who I find to be one of the best. I often search for novels he narrates for that very reason.
I read audio books all the time. There are many readers I enjoy and some who will keep me from reading a book. However, this reader was the best I have ever heard. There were many voices in this book and different accents and he got them all perfectly.
The story also was interesting. It wasn't "thought provoking" but it covered the time of the second world war from different locations, most of which I had never thought of before and I learned a lot from it. I will look for other books from this author.
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