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
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.
They were all believable, likeable and loathsome as required.
SPOILER ALERT: Anna stabbing the pervert commander in the "nest of the swallows"
Not that extreme.
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.
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
It was a good job over all.
From the start to the middle, yes the rest could have been cut to the last chapter.
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.
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)
The character development, the factual story line and the depth of detail
I think Humphrey Bower is in my opinion one of the top 5 narrators I've ever listened to.
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.
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.
Audible allows me to fill my mind with something so much better than TV.
Yes. Even with the length some books are just dragged out. This one always has your attention
The Preformer's ability to give each character such life....
More thumbs up than I am capable of giving. His acents are tremendous.
Mick, Anna and the rest
A must for any true Audible listner
Probably not but then I never listen to a book more than once.
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.
I could scarcely breathe as he watched what happened to the Australian and American sailors who went ashore.
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!
I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.
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.
I enjoyed Kevin Judge. He was a real character and I loved Humphrey Bower's voice when doing "The Judge".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy for it is a new slant on the Aussie style and what would a tree be without a Bower?
A very well documented history of the Japanesse and Dutch in world war two, and a love story so tender and sweet.
Great performance, each character was separated in the speech.
Long audio book that captures your heart
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.
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