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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 (1852 )
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  •  
    alan Beecroft, Australia 01-29-13
    alan Beecroft, Australia 01-29-13 Member Since 2006
    ratings
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    1
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Just like being there"
    Would you listen to The Persimmon Tree again? Why?

    Humphrey Bower brings the characters to life in your head. Listening to his portrayal of each character in this epic story by Bryce Courtenay made me feel I knew them all. I can't wait to relive their adventures once again.This being my first Bryce Courtenay novel I can see why he was so well regarded. Now have to listen to all of his others before I can go back to the Persimmon Tree.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    They were all believable, likeable and loathsome as required.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    SPOILER ALERT: Anna stabbing the pervert commander in the "nest of the swallows"


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Not that extreme.


    Any additional comments?

    Bryce is a great loss, as it turns out. I have no interest in "war stories" but this is a great story that just happens to be set during a war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Edward Anderson 01-13-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not quite what I expected."
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book got off to a fine start,but the story seems to drag around the middle of the

    book. There starts to be too much detail, as far as I was concerned. A small example,-

    I'm not really interested in the sexual needs or desires of the WW2 Japanese soldier (s).

    There was more than ample violence and gore to disqualify this as a love story



    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    It was a good job over all.


    Was The Persimmon Tree worth the listening time?

    From the start to the middle, yes the rest could have been cut to the last chapter.


    Any additional comments?

    You're going to get a lot of well researched history, a lot of horror inflicted onto innocent

    people, cruelty to the extreme and, of course,sexual deviancy. If this seems a bit too

    much historic reality , better pass on this one. On the other hand, if that's the kind of

    thing you like, you're going to have to wade through some mushy spots.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 01-08-13
    Bonnie Bellmore, NY, United States 01-08-13 Member Since 2013

    BJS

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My first Bryce Courtenay Totally Awe Struck"
    What did you love best about The Persimmon Tree?

    What didn't I like? I'm a person who love historical novels and some one recommended I read Bryce Courtenay, because I would be truly amazed at the gripping tales of emotion and history. Not only that but Humphrey Bower, who narrated Shantaram by Gregory Roberts. (which I had listened to at least twice) I knew that I would get a great narration. The time lines and the actual history's of the story floored me. The facts, and the power of the story kept me listening. The emotional drama of this was something that kept me listening until I had to stop to do other things. ( I couldn't wait to return to listening)


    What did you like best about this story?

    The character development, the factual story line and the depth of detail


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I think Humphrey Bower is in my opinion one of the top 5 narrators I've ever listened to.


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

    Several actually. When Anna killed the Japanese commander to try and make her escape.
    When Nick, found his father, and finally when Anna and Nick found each other again after five years of war that changed the people they were.


    Any additional comments?

    This was my first Bryce Courteny book. I am devastated that he has passed away. However I will listen to as much of his works on Audible that I can. Especially since Humphrey Bower does the narration on them. I usually don't go on and on about recommending a book, however if you enjoy action packed factual historical novels as much as I do, with fantastic narration. This will not disappoint.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe H. VA 11-27-12
    Joe H. VA 11-27-12 Member Since 2008

    Audible allows me to fill my mind with something so much better than TV.

    ratings
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    43
    8
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    Story
    "A Masterpiece"
    Would you listen to The Persimmon Tree again? Why?

    Yes. Even with the length some books are just dragged out. This one always has your attention


    What did you like best about this story?

    The Preformer's ability to give each character such life....


    What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    More thumbs up than I am capable of giving. His acents are tremendous.


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

    Mick, Anna and the rest


    Any additional comments?

    A must for any true Audible listner

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathryn S. Daugherty Duluth, MN United States 10-26-12
    Kathryn S. Daugherty Duluth, MN United States 10-26-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Sweeping, frightening, wonderful"
    Would you listen to The Persimmon Tree again? Why?

    Probably not but then I never listen to a book more than once.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The main character because I got to know him very personally. There was a lot of good character development but none was as "real" as the main character.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I could scarcely breathe as he watched what happened to the Australian and American sailors who went ashore.


    Any additional comments?

    The story is brutal and sometimes almost too difficult to read. This is especially true with Anna. But I did read every work and it was worth it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 10-02-12
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 10-02-12 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

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    "An Engaging story"
    Where does The Persimmon Tree rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The Persimmon Tree was enjoyable but was nowhere near The Power of One in terms of its effect on me. It would rate a 7/10 in terms of the books I've read.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I enjoyed Kevin Judge. He was a real character and I loved Humphrey Bower's voice when doing "The Judge".


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    I enjoyed everything about Humphrey Bower's performance, as I have when listening to all Bryce Courtenay's books. Mr. Bower is a master and really mastered most of the accents in this book though I felt his Dutch accent was a bit weaker. His female voices were sufficiently confincing as to not distract from the story.


    Any additional comments?

    As is typical of Mr. Courtenay's books, there was some rambling with different narratives leading from one to another. Most of the stories were very engaging though I found the amount of vomit and faces mentioned in the book a bit excessive.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    M.W. SW USA 09-30-12
    M.W. SW USA 09-30-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bryce Continues to Keep Me Entertained"

    As I have said in many reviews before, I continue to enjoy the Courtenay/Bower combination! I was a little less enthusiastic about this book than some of the others, but not enough to warrant less than 5 stars. I doubt if any book by this author/reader combo could result in anything less than 5-star entertainment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 09-23-12
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 09-23-12 Member Since 2009

    An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.

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    "Another delightful stepping stone"

    Enjoy for it is a new slant on the Aussie style and what would a tree be without a Bower?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Daily N.C. 08-27-12
    S. Daily N.C. 08-27-12 Listener Since 2009
    ratings
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    11
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    Story
    "What a great love story immbeded in history"
    What made the experience of listening to The Persimmon Tree the most enjoyable?

    A very well documented history of the Japanesse and Dutch in world war two, and a love story so tender and sweet.


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    Great performance, each character was separated in the speech.


    If you could take any character from The Persimmon Tree out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Anna


    Any additional comments?

    Long audio book that captures your heart

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cid LAGUNA BEACH, CA, United States 08-22-12
    Cid LAGUNA BEACH, CA, United States 08-22-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Beautiful Story"
    Any additional comments?

    I thought this book was beautifully narrated, and I loved the story. I learned many things about WWII, and it was interesting hearing a perspective from a country other than America. My only complaint is that I think it ended too abruptly. Actually, I could have handled the ending if there had been a sequel written to fill in all the information that was left out at the end; for example, Anna's story is so compelling and yet we never find out what happened to her after she fled into the mountains or what made her decide to establish the business she undertook after the war; nor does the author reveal their journey on the boat as she goes through heroin withdrawl. I think it would have made the story much richer at the end, as Nick's story was not nearly as interesting or dramatic, although I enjoyed hearing about him too.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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