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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 (1702 )
5 star
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4.6 (1258 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Celia Topanga, CA, United States 06-24-11
    Celia Topanga, CA, United States 06-24-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    10
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    "Rambling"

    A good novel is tightly woven; each detail has a purpose. This is not that kind of novel. This is a rambling history of the war in the pacific overlaid with a love story whose events seem both cliched and absurdly impossible. It's not a bad book, in fact it's absorbing at times, it's just way too long and annoyingly repetitive. If you are looking for a well written, tightly plotted novel with a satisfying conclusion, keep looking, this is not the book for you. If you don't mind strange tangents, characters without purpose, and an interesting view of the WW2 Pacific theater, it's OK.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    sjohn Meridian, MS, United States 06-09-11
    sjohn Meridian, MS, United States 06-09-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    103
    15
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    Overall
    "Another enjoyable Courtenay-Bower experience!"

    I'm enjoying listening my way through Courtenay's books since I discovered The Potato Factory. I find them very satisfying listens with great characters, description and stories. The Persimmon Tree was no exception, but I wish I knew more about what happened in the end!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jay Landis 05-21-11
    Jay Landis 05-21-11 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    83
    6
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    "I wanted the story to last longer."

    I felt sad when the book ended. I wanted to know more. loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephen Bulverde, tx, United States 08-28-10
    Stephen Bulverde, tx, United States 08-28-10 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    38
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    8
    7
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    "Audible Ruined the Read"

    Nice book, but the experience was ruined since I had already listened to "Fishing for Stars". Shame on Audible for releasing this one after the sequel.

    4 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cookie Anacortes, WA, United States 02-22-12
    Cookie Anacortes, WA, United States 02-22-12 Member Since 2011

    Cookie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    382
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    52
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    63
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    Performance
    Story
    "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?

    2 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 06-22-11
    Mark Fort Lauderdale, FL, United States 06-22-11 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    294
    ratings
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    94
    26
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    28
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    Overall
    "Faulty Main Character"

    The main character Nick was completely unlikeable near the end of the novel. I kept hoping he'd get his legs blown off in the war.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Caylene J. Vincent Ballarat, Australia 03-19-13
    Caylene J. Vincent Ballarat, Australia 03-19-13 Member Since 2009

    UQH

    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
    ratings
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    18
    17
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    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Master Story Teller"
    If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

    Compelling to the End


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

    You cant compare Bryce's work, why would you, he's a master story teller


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

    Humphrey Bower would have to be the best narrator I have ever listened to, his ability to style the difference voices throughout his performance, really does add value to this book


    If you could rename The Persimmon Tree, what would you call it?

    Madam Butterfly


    Any additional comments?

    I diid not know that it was the first book of 2. I actually read Finishing for the Stars first!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Orinda, Ca, United States 02-13-13
    Linda Orinda, Ca, United States 02-13-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    112
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    "My thoughts on The Persimmon Tree"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The condensed version would be better! An interesting story, the narrator was terrific, but it got bogged down in so much detail that I did not care about.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. C. Deutscher 01-29-13 Member Since 2012

    Kit Merrijig

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellant Aussie Histiory kind of as far as I know"
    If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

    Excellant Aussie Histiory


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

    incomparable


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

    Humphrey is supberb at all accents he tries


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

    the javanese village atmosphere


    Any additional comments?

    Read with quality and understanding

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renee Fredericksburg, VA, United States 11-25-12
    Renee Fredericksburg, VA, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    18
    5
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    "Sour Persimmon"
    Would you try another book from Bryce Courtenay and/or Humphrey Bower?

    I would one more book from Bryce Courtenay and / or Humphrey Bower.


    What was most disappointing about Bryce Courtenay’s story?

    I believe that the book was far too long and would have benefited from a sharper eye during the edit process. The flow of the book was satisfactory, details were well done, simply just too long.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    Thought Mr. Bower's performance was exemplary.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book had redeeming qualities. It provided insight into a different perspective of the war from a nation involved in the conflict, from people that the reader could connect with, and experiences that were historically correct.


    Any additional comments?

    Difficult for me to recommend because of the aforementioned length of the book. If the reader is a 'skimmer' than I would recommend it.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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