Nicholas Duncan is a semi-retired shipping magnate who resides in idyllic Beautiful Bay in Indonesia, where he is known as the old patriarch of the islands. He is grieving the loss of his beautiful Eurasian wife, Anna, and is suffering for the first time from disturbing flashbacks to WWII, the scene of their first meeting and early love. His other wartime lover is the striking Marg Hamilton, a powerful and influential political player in Australia who has remained close to Nick. Marg suspects Nick is suffering the onset of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and organises for a specialist to meet with him in Sydney. But when they meet, Tony Freedman stirs long-buried emotions in Nick and the two men don't hit it off.
Nick leaves in an explosion of anger and finds himself in hospital after being hit by a car. Tony visits and encourages Nick to write as a form of therapy - to write about Anna. So he sets about writing about the woman who has inspired him since his late teens, and in doing so draws us into the compelling tale of the life he has lived post war-hero days building a shipping empire, navigating international corruption, supporting his wife's third-world education crusade and loving the women who inspire him. Set in the exotic locale of the spice islands during the excitement of post-war prosperity and possibility, and driven by strong, colourful characters, this book is truly epic in scope. Is it possible for a man to love two women?
©2008 Bryce Courtenay; (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing
There is so much within this book that I know I will listen again this summer.
You know when I listen to a Bryce Courtenay novel they really don't seem to be stories. I feel as though I've sort of moved in with the characters. Humphrey Bower I'm sure plays a strong part in that feeling.
Yes there is mention of sex and violence but it's all done in good taste. And these subjects are not dwelt upon at any length at any rate.
And finally I'd recommend this book to anyone wanting better than just a good listen. I'm now in the position of yearning for his next penning. While waiting though I will absolutely take Fishing For Stars out again this summer. And enjoy the experience all over again. And it'll be like the first time.
I tend to relisten to all of Bryce Courtenay novels. The experience is usually better than the first time.
There is no such thing as a "bad" Bryce Courtenay when combined with Humphrey Bower as the reader. This one was released simultaneously with The Persimmon Tree and is a sequel to it. I strongly suspect that the first was a better book with more plot to it. It would also have been a better read if one had all the characters and events in the context of the original. Hopefully, Audible will still get it and I don't think having listened to the sequel will much damage the reading of the first book.
If you have stumbled across this review and have not listened to other Courtenay/Bower combinations, this is NOT the one to start with. Try the Power of One and the sequel of Tandia or the three part history of Australia that begins with The Potato Factory. Courtenay is a great story teller and Bower is an even better reader.
SUMMARY, in Bryce Courtenay's own words:
"Fishing for Stars has, at its heart, two passionate, unforgettable, but very different, women. One is exotic, damaged, and shrewd; the other beautiful, determined and zealous. Both are bitter rivals for the love of the same man.
My story is set in Australia, the Pacific Islands, Japan and Indonesia during the latter half of the twentieth century. Nick Duncan is an ingenuous male with a great deal more female on his hands than he can possibly hope to understand.
The contest he is called upon to referee is the clash between the two great loves of his life: the seductive Anna Til, and the older, equally fascinating Marg Hamilton. Nick struggles between their worlds: one exploiting the world's riches for profit, the other fighting to save the environment and its creatures, large and small.
I hope you like Fishing for Stars, it is a story of ambition, destruction, love, tears and laughter, with a soupcon of hope thrown in."
Important Note: "Fishing for Stars" contains explicit sexual content and mature subject matter.
This book is the sequel to "The Persimmon Tree" published in 2007. This book does stand on it's own. But for me, I like to read books in the proper sequence. Hopefully, Audible will add this book to their website.
The narrator Humphrey Bower is excellent. In this book, his Japanese accents are superb. If you like his narration and want to read a great book, read Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (also an Australian author).
If you like this book, read "The Gold Coast" by Nelson DeMille. It is a intense Romance/Thriller with erotic sex scenes and mafia (instead of Japanese Yakuza).
Love a great book that stays with you long after you've finished it.
I am so disappointed in this novel. I have enjoyed every one of Bryce Courtenay's books until this unexceptional listen. Although this book was not up to Courtenay's standards, narrator Humphrey Bower is as always exceptional. This novel was not only a boring listen, but Courtenay used this book as a platform to speak to us all about environmental issues. I want to be preached at I will a purchase a nonfiction book pertaining to that issue. There were no new subjects or characters introduced in this novel, this is an author trying to squeeze some more story out of previous novels, and unfortunately not any interesting parts. If the author would have focused on Nick and Joe's younger life it could have been a fascinating read, but a more boring subject I could not have chosen myself. What a huge let down. Courtenay's books usually have such an outstanding story that they stay with you weeks after you have read them. Fishing for Stars left me gloomily listening to environmental issues on high speed, only listening out of guilt not fear that I would miss anything. I hope this author who has written so many outstanding books returns to his previous writing style.
I have enjoyed many of Bryce Courtenay's books but this one was just ho hum. What saves this book is the history about some of the places the story takes you. However, I could not believe anyone could truly love Anna, let alone stay with her as Nicolas did. I had to read the squeal (first is better). Sorry, Bryce had I know I would have let my imagination finish the story instead of reading book two.
A continuation of the story of the characters in The Persimmon Tree, this book demonstrates Courtenay's usual masterful weaving of history, politics, romance, love, & all the complexities of human relationships, in wonderful storytelling. Humphrey Bower is an outstanding reader & brings the characters alive.
This is a continuation of the story of Anna and Marj from the persimmon tree. It was not as exciting and really boring at times. I loved the Persimmon Tree, but wish I had left the rest to speculation. Not a good sequel.
I have read most of this authors stories and I have always thoroughly enjoyed them. Although I have made several attempts to finish "Fishing for Stars," I have been unable to do so. I keep thinking...can we get on with this? I'm very surprised to find one of Courtenay's stories so slow, but of all his books, I feel he was a bit unfocused on this one.
A real story instead of instructions for the green movement and all the ills of the world
I loved The Persimmon Tree. I will give it another try due to my first read
He is magical performer. I will seek out his performances in the future
It was the unsatisfactory conclusion of the Persimmon Tree. I was thoroughly educated with the green movements history in Australia, old growth timber, the need to care for frogs, statistics of rape, Yakuza's role in Japanese society, Women's right movement. Mistreatment of American Blacks, and indigenous populations in the south pacific, Australia and Japanese WWII POWs. The inherent horrors of big business with their plunders of the environment and rational for civil disobedience.
Mr. Bower preformed it superbly though.
Nicholas Ducan was strong independent character in the Persimmon Tree. In Fishing for Stars he was an emasculated, "purse holding" character spending his time placating two women. With all the Soap Box preaching, it was hard to get through this one.
Definitely, but this was not his best work.
Bryce got us lost in the weeds of international politics and business history. It tells the story of that region of the world but was missing the usual Dickensian characterizations that I love. True, the "Persimmon Tree" needed a sequel, but it just seems like Bryce lost his story-telling mojo on this one.
Humphrey Bower is his usual superb best at accents of all sorts.
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