We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
 >   > 
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'.
Regular Price:$34.96
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

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 (1714 )
5 star
 (888)
4 star
 (560)
3 star
 (177)
2 star
 (59)
1 star
 (30)
Overall
4.3 (1256 )
5 star
 (654)
4 star
 (399)
3 star
 (151)
2 star
 (30)
1 star
 (22)
Story
4.6 (1266 )
5 star
 (879)
4 star
 (302)
3 star
 (61)
2 star
 (13)
1 star
 (11)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 08-01-13
    Paula Overland Park, KS USA 08-01-13 Member Since 2012

    Enjoying one good listen after the next!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    513
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    365
    186
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    101
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Fabulous Historical Novel - Not to Be Missed!"

    There aren't many novels 28 hours long that can hold my rapt attention throughout. This one did. It is an epic saga of that catapults the reader through deep and abiding love, horrendous evil, world war and the afterward of that war. Set in the Pacific, (various island nations) prior to and during World War II, the story is centered on the impact of the Japanese invasion of Java and other nation islands. At its core is the plight of the Dutch who had previously invaded and controlled Java and specifically, the life of Anna, a girl of mixed Javanese and Dutch heritage; and Nick,an Australian butterfly collector who was on an expedition when the invasion by the Japanese was fomented.

    "Nicholas" narrates the story in an easy-to-listen-to voice with an amazing down under accent. The various character voices used are memorable and wonderful throughout. Nicholas tells his story and then relates Anna's story as well. I loved the way their stories unfolded and intertwined and also how their lives separated before finally coming back together.

    This is a worthy listen if ever there was one. For those who like relatable characters and novels that retrace history, this is a must. Highly recommended.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robin Copestake 11-17-10
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    229
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
    0
    Overall
    "SLOW"

    I love most books and I gave this book as much time as I could. I found that this lacked excitment. Even moments that should have been exciting were just really over described. I have never reviewed a book before but I got this on my recomended list so I wanted to let others know that if you like Ken Follet, Dianna Gabledon or you read Shanteram and liked them, this book is not for you!

    9 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb West Pennant Hills, Australia 01-27-13
    Deb West Pennant Hills, Australia 01-27-13

    Wife, mother, nanna, part time actor, avid reader, world traveller, golfer, bridge player, lover of life.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    31
    22
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "The Persimmon Tree - A Bloody good story mate"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This book is a must read. Bryce Courtney does the Australian Servicemen and Women proud in this epic novel of what it means to be young, Aussie and flung into a war only to have to cope with the consequences of the decisions made during that war. I am so proud to be able to say this book was written and researched thoroughly because there isn't one thing I could fault. Bryce Courtney is no longer with us but I will be sure to read the prequel to this story next. Love it!


    What did you like best about this story?

    Each part of this engrossing tale is as gripping and enjoyable as the last. So Australian. Some of the Aussie sayings are brought to life by Humphrey Bower and said exactly as my parents used to all the time. I particularly liked the one "After the matinee, you still have to go home and mow the lawn." The writing is wonderful and many memories of how my mother and father survived during the war came to life in this book as both of them served as officers in the Australian Army.


    Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

    His accents are spot on. I like all of his characters especially the Japanese and Javanese characters. The women too. Anna, Marg etc. all delivered with a slightly gentler tone. He is my favourite reader thus far.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Persimmon Tree and why?

    Anna because she reminds me a little of myself. I love her bravery in the most frightening of situations.


    Any additional comments?

    I generally don't like Bryce Courtney's writing but this one has whet my appetite for more.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 01-21-13
    Linda 01-21-13 Member Since 2008

    :)

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    171
    23
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well done!"

    The saga takes you in and doesn't let go. Very well written and narrated. I will buy more from this author and narrator.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Sparks, NY, United States 12-02-12
    John Sparks, NY, United States 12-02-12 Member Since 2008

    NV, not NY

    HELPFUL VOTES
    96
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    67
    42
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    6
    5
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not entirely enthralled with this one"

    Most subjects Courtenay writes about I find interesting if not fascinating, however the large middle section of this book about the woman's training to please her captor held almost no interest for me at all. But that's just me, you may love this part of the book. This was my least favorite Courtenay book to date.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wehrly Redmond, WA, United States 09-20-11
    Wehrly Redmond, WA, United States 09-20-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    10
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    20
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    3
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boringly smutty"

    I read a lot of reviews before I take on a book by an unfamiliar author who is supposedly very popular somewhere else (like Australia) -- so I am surprised that none of the many reviews I read mentioned how larded this book is with juvenile, uninteresting sex (for the male lead), or perverted sexually-oriented abuse (for/by the female lead). Boring smut, descriptions of penises, and sexual stereotyping (Asians, Catholics, etc) completely undermine a potentially interesting WWII novel that starts out intriguingly. Although to be honest, a lot of the novel's plot that is not sexual consists of unbelievable lucky breaks, discoveries of cash, and field promotions. Can't believe I have actually made it to within three hours of the end (only because it is gardening season and I have hours of listening time).

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 10-05-12
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 10-05-12 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

    HELPFUL VOTES
    652
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    433
    219
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    82
    42
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Courtenay and Bower--an amazing combination!"

    I put off listening to this book for quite a while due to the length. However, all the great reviews for author and narrator spurred me on to start it recently. It is an intriguing, highly enjoyable story with an unlikely hero, a young butterfly collector and his true love, an equally young half Dutch, half Indonesian girl. They have only known each other a few weeks before separating and having their own very different and intriguing story lines. Bower is a master at narrating different accents, and Courtnay really knows how to tell a story! What more could you ask for?
    It is highly recommended.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeanette Manhattan Beach, CA, United States 09-24-12
    Jeanette Manhattan Beach, CA, United States 09-24-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    15
    11
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Courtney/Bower combination is irresistable!"

    Bryce Courtney's novels are favorites because his characters are never perfect, but perfectly flawed. I could listen to Humphrey Bower narrate the ingredients on a cereal box. He has just the right inflection humor, panic, masked emotion. He disappears into each character to the extent that I am usually surprised that there is only one narrator, by the end. Together, they weave wonderful audio experiences! Will listen to more of their collaborations.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 09-08-12
    Cheryl Douglasville, GA, United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    76
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    125
    120
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    8
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great Narrator . . . but the Plot is drawn out!"

    Unfortunately, I felt this story was too long and drawn out. It just got boring after a while, even though it could have been much more exciting or suspenseful . . . or something. It’s a good story/plot but definitely not my Bryce Courtenay favorite.

    I was disappointed with the quick ending which should have been the best part of the story if Courtenay had taken the time to write it! He leaves the ending implied, but what reader wants to interpret an ending you’ve been aiming towards after 28 hours? The ending was very unsatisfying and too abrupt. The focus of the entire book suddenly has no significance in the ending?

    It is not a bad book though, and the narrator Humphrey Bower is fantastic, so it may be worth reading to many. Fans of Courtenay may love it. I did enjoy Courtenay’s “The Power of One” and “Brother Fish”.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy 03-27-12
    Timothy 03-27-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    34
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    73
    21
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    ""Page-turner" with some weaknesses"

    Bryce Courtenay is a gifted storyteller and Humphrey Bower is one of the best narrators on Audible, so it's hardly surprising that this is one of those books you just can't put down until it's finished. It's also historically very interesting, providing a wealth of information about the situation and events of the Pacific War that I wasn't yet aware of, and just for that it is definitely worth reading.

    Even so, it does also have some annoying weaknesses. The main one is that the main character, who is also the first-person narrator of the story, simply isn't credible. I don't know if Courtenay himself ever saw active service in war, and if he did I apologize in advance. However, it doesn't seem even remotely believable that a man could go through the horrific wartime experiences described and still remain basically the same insouciant, happy-go-lucky young man he was at the beginning of the story. Even internally, they hardly seem to touch him. It doesn't ring true, and that lessens the impact of the story as a whole.

    The resulting effect is of an author retelling a story that he has heard but was not involved in himself. It is as if he is seeing his characters from the outside, and knows nothing of how they really felt about what they experienced. It is still an excellent story, but if that missing depth had been there it would have been a much, much better novel.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 11-20 of 150 results PREVIOUS12315NEXT

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.