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 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.
Compelling to the End
You cant compare Bryce's work, why would you, he's a master story teller
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
I diid not know that it was the first book of 2. I actually read Finishing for the Stars first!
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.
Excellant Aussie Histiory
Humphrey is supberb at all accents he tries
the javanese village atmosphere
Read with quality and understanding
I would one more book from Bryce Courtenay and / or Humphrey Bower.
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.
Thought Mr. Bower's performance was exemplary.
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.
Difficult for me to recommend because of the aforementioned length of the book. If the reader is a 'skimmer' than I would recommend it.
Enjoyable easy listening
The story was every different to most books I have read. I have enjoyed most of Bryce Courtney books. This is one of his best
It was nice to read a good Australian story. I wish I could find more
I have previously listened to The Power of One and Tandia by the same author and narrator. Thoroughly enjoyed The Power of One. Enjoyed Tandia a little less. I'm deducting a star from my rating of The Persimmon Tree because I was so disappointed by the ending. I thought at first that part of the book did not get downloaded and I missed a big chunk of the end. Will still try another Courtenay book but probably not Fishing for Stars (the sequel to The Persimmon Tree).
There was so much detail throughout the book until the end. I wanted a substantial ending!
I cannot speak for all the accents, but his English with a Japanese accent is amazing.
Initially I would have said yes because I wanted the stories of Nick and Ana to continue. But after reading reviews of Fishing for Stars, I'm content to leave them as I envision them now.
I've read every one of BC's novels and have loved them all.
It would be difficult to listen to a better narrator. Bower is fantastic!
Unfortunately, I did not read the print version. The audio version was a perfect way to occupy two weeks of my commute.
Courtenay's account of the experience on the beach was depicted with skill. He made his audience feel the experience.
I look forward to my next adventure with Courtenay.
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