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Whitethorn | [Bryce Courtenay]

Whitethorn

From the author of The Power of One comes a new novel about Africa. The time is 1939. White South Africa is a deeply divided nation with many of the Afrikaner people fanatically opposed to the English. The world is also on the brink of war, and South Africa elects to fight for the Allied cause against Germany. Six-year-old Tom Fitzsaxby finds himself in The Boys Farm, an orphanage in a remote town in the high mountains, where the Afrikaners side fiercely with Hitler's Germany.
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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Power of One comes a new novel about Africa. The time is 1939. White South Africa is a deeply divided nation with many of the Afrikaner people fanatically opposed to the English. The world is also on the brink of war, and South Africa elects to fight for the Allied cause against Germany. Six-year-old Tom Fitzsaxby finds himself in The Boys Farm, an orphanage in a remote town in the high mountains, where the Afrikaners side fiercely with Hitler's Germany. Tom's English name proves sufficient for him to be ostracised, marking him as an outsider. And so begin some of life's tougher lessons for the small, lonely boy. Like the whitethorn, one of Africa's most enduring plants, Tom learns how to survive in the harsh climate of racial hatred. Then a terrible event sends him on a journey to ensure that justice is done. On the way, his most unexpected discovery is love.

©2005 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2005 Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (501 )
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4.7 (405 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Ingrid 10-21-13
    Ingrid 10-21-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    "Most enjoyable"

    I really enjoyed this book. The second part seems almost unnecessary because the first half is almost enough of a story, with interesting elements of South African history told in a non-judgmental way. None the less it is a very enjoyable listen. I enjoy Humphrey Bower as narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    love to read 10-20-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "FABULOUS!"

    This is my 12th Bryce Courtenay novel and my favorite by far. You won't be disappointed. I love Humphrey Bower's performance of the Courtenay novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew Wesport, CT, United States 06-06-13
    Andrew Wesport, CT, United States 06-06-13 Member Since 2011

    Westport, CT

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    "Better than Power of One"

    This was worth reading even if you read its twin brother the Power of One, has more comedy and also is better written, Power of One was BC's first so it was a bit rough.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DCinMI Fairview, MI 05-24-13
    DCinMI Fairview, MI 05-24-13 Member Since 2015
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    "I don't know how he does it!"

    This man writes about locations, time periods, and events in which I have no interest whatsoever. There are many things I AM interested in, but early 20th century politics in the southern hemisphere is not one of them. HOWEVER... Courtenay is a storytelling genius and brilliant wordsmith. When I start listening to one of his books, I am hooked almost immediately and don't want it to end. The dates, political events, and places only form a backdrop and give context to the story.

    I think the way his books are woven together, it is difficult to give a plot summary without revealing things that would be better left to the author's own wording and timing. I can say that the character narrator is a six year old boy when the book opens. He grows up in an orphanage and the story follows his eventful life until the age of about 30. There is a thread running through it that pulls you along and keeps you interested right to the very end.

    I also need to mention the narrator, Humphrey Bower. Does he have any accent of his own? He appears to be some sort of voice chameleon. I've heard him do so many different voices and accents so well, that I can get no sense of what he would sound like in normal, natural conversation in his own home. If you place a high value on a talented narrator, this book will certainly please you on that score.

    This is the 6th Courtenay book I have listened to, and I've never been sorry for purchasing one. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good tale, well told.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorna Johannesburg, South Africa 05-21-13
    Lorna Johannesburg, South Africa 05-21-13 Member Since 2010

    I have a busy career, travel a lot and don't have much time to read, so I listen to Audio books. I love reading!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Favourite!"

    I have to admit, I love Bryce Courtney and am a little biased when it comes to his books. This is another good one and I can relate to it as I'm a South African, so it resonates with my soul. A really good story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed 04-17-13
    Ed 04-17-13
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    "The Power of Two"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Whitethorn to be better than the print version?

    only listen


    What other book might you compare Whitethorn to and why?

    The Power of One, BC's first book. This one seems to be very much a revisiting of the same story. Social injustice, race relations, pets, bullying, befriending odd characters, the talented child that is innocent of his own gifts, doing right to those who have done you wrong. Courtenay's "Horatio Alger" plots all tend to support his thesis: the good boy overcomes the odds to become successful.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Tom realizes who the faceless beggar is.


    If you could rename Whitethorn, what would you call it?

    I think Whitethorn is a good one. Symbolic for Tom being a white boy in Africa, redolent of the brushy shrub that grows there.


    Any additional comments?

    Humphrey Bower puts so much into the voice characterizations. He's a master of dialects.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorraine Hicks BETHESDA, MD, US 01-11-13
    Lorraine Hicks BETHESDA, MD, US 01-11-13 Member Since 2015
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    4
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    Story
    "Tom continually turns lemons into lemonade."
    If you could sum up Whitethorn in three words, what would they be?

    Believe in oneself


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Despite the harshness of his upbringing, Tom has a knack for making things work, in the long run. The narration is excellent and despite the apparent bleakness of some situations, I found reason to smile. We should all have just a bit of Tom's tenacity.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Blake Williamstown North, Australia 05-02-12
    Blake Williamstown North, Australia 05-02-12
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    "Another excellent African story from Bryce C."
    Would you listen to Whitethorn again? Why?

    No because I've already listened to it. It's a long book.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Africa. I like Bryce's interpretation and painting of Africa.


    Any additional comments?

    If you like Bryce Courtenay, you won't be dissapointed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shana Adelaide, Australia 04-09-12
    Shana Adelaide, Australia 04-09-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book"

    I really enjoyed Whitethorn.
    It did have some disturbing parts in it but if you can get past those parts it is a brilliant story. The way Bryce Courtney tells the story through the eyes of a young boy is just so entertaining.
    I shared this book with my 60+ Mother and 90+ Grandmother and they both loved it, so much so they have listened to it more than once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 03-04-13 Member Since 2014
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    13
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    "Wonderful to learn about South Africa"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, for those who can handle the violence and brutality that go with living in an orphanage as the "outcast"


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Whitethorn?

    When Tom sold the 3 Steinways


    What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

    Excellent ability to take on the characteristics of the various dialects -- Afrikaner, Indian, British English, Cape Colored


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

    Tom's mentors, the Sgt, the Dr., and Miss ___________


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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