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 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.
I have 174 books in my Audible library and this is the only book that compelled me to write a review. This is not the worst book I've listen to, but the largest waste of time. Much of the book is boring, uninteresting dialog, followed up with several very annoying characters, from the Chicago Marine who constantly repeated himself in violent outbursts, to the drunk father, evil step mother, to the main character himself who just happens to be the best sailor, rifleman, translator, butterfly collector, and stabby knife guy in the Australian Army, all be the age of 18 years. He should be promoted to General. Choose another book.
Say something about yourself!
Once again Bryce Courtney created characters that are larger than life and very engaging. I was surprised at the main characters so young but so mature. It actually is hard to believe, but anyone would want a teen like these people. Humphrey Bower did so well at the genders and foreign accents one really feels the story. Highly recommend this story ??? even with my tongue in my cheek knowing the ages of the main characters. Of course times are different ??? WWII and now? ??? eh, maybe ??? probably???I love the analogy of the Persimmon tree. (Part 3) ;-)
I picked up this book on sale and did not think ir would be that good. Was I wrong! It is a well written intriguing story line. Some of the male lead activities are too good to be true. Almost Forrest Gumpish. I was drawn in though and found many reasons to finish listening to the story. Well worth the time!
From the moment this book began, I was drawn into the story and looked forward to my long commute each day just so I could "read" more. I look forward to playing it for my husband on our next cross-country trip. There's plenty here for both of us: war scenes, love stories, intrigue, tragedy, cross-cultural interest, historical accounts, hair-raising adventure: So glad I purchased it!
A side of WWII I did not know much about, told though wonderful charactors. Bryce Courtney never disappoints in charactor development and dialogue. Humphrey Bower's voices make this very long listen very entertaining. Predictable ending, but who cares.
This was a wonderful story of the South Pacific during WWII. Very interesting perspective of two young people from completely different backgrounds. I think
both male and female readers will truly enjoy this book.
This seemed to be the best book beginning to end as far as plot, characters, and action. This is number 6, as far as books of Courtenay I have listened to and has a slight edge as my favorite. Kept wanting to get back in the car to continue the book, always a sign of a five star book. Highly recommend. This author and narrator match is probably the best I have listened to. Enjoy.
I love the way Bryce Courtenay mixes fact with fiction so that you almost think you are reading a true story. Loved this story and hated when it finished. Can't wait to hear the Sequel. Humphrey Bower is a great narrater.
The opening lines and narration had me feeling at first that I might have errored in this purchase -- a hokey factor? -- but that was not the case. But, I was completely wrong -- it is for me that the beginning/intro simply captures youth naivete. The story is excellent! It is spellbinding and moves through a long period of WWII in a superb manner tying story elements, personalities, and personal development together. Many parallel themes are linked. Many interesting personalities illuminate the times of WWII. A very long book -- and the narration kept my attention fully, always anxious to hear the next part. Brilliant is perhaps the best way to describe this book with its rare glimps as many culture and many life and cultural themes. Outstanding! The narrator also shows incredible command of the different participants voices. The Japanese are not pitched in a good light, but it is story and history explained, some lessons there -- such may offend some, but half a century later the J. culture is different. The current Japanese culture and people are still at the top of my favorites. Talent everywhere in this book.
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