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Publisher's Summary

From the author of The Power of One comes an inspiring human drama and war story of three lives brought together and changed forever by the extraordinary events of recent history. Inspired by real events, Bryce Courtenay's new novel tells the story of three people from vastly differing backgrounds. All they have in common is a tough beginning in life. Jack McKenzie is a harmonica player, soldier, dreamer, and small-time professional fisherman from a tiny island in Bass Strait. Nicole Lenoir-Jourdan is a strong-willed woman hiding from an ambiguous past in Shanghai. Larger than life, Private Jimmy Oldcorn was once a street kid and leader of a New York gang. Together, they reap a vast and not always legitimate fortune from the sea. Narrated by celebrated, award-winning actor Humphrey Bower.
©2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty. Ltd

Critic Reviews

  • 2005 Audie Award Nominee, Literary Fiction

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,107
  • 4 Stars
    553
  • 3 Stars
    200
  • 2 Stars
    58
  • 1 Stars
    66

Performance

  • 4.7 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    970
  • 4 Stars
    183
  • 3 Stars
    46
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    20

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    725
  • 4 Stars
    323
  • 3 Stars
    123
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    33
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Nathan
  • Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • 11-20-07

He does it again!

Once again Bryce Courtney carries the day, to say nothing of the ever magnificent Humphrey Bower. It took me weeks to listen to this book, simply because I rationed it out over time. I did not want it to end. As other reviewers have mentioned, it's almost like 3 or 4 different novels in one.

Humphrey Bower is a tour de force in narration. In this novel he excelled, whether in providing good approximations of Korean, Chinese, Russian, Irish,deep southern drawl, German and Polish (probably missed a half dozen) accents. He also sings well enough to carry those portions of the story. Don't miss this book.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Very good

Another awesome bok by Bryce Courtney. Not quite as good as "the power of one"- but still- and amazing story. So wonderfully written. This book is a must.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Really Enjoyed

This was a surprise as I had not heard of this author prior to this book. It has a really good story line - ties things up a little too neat at the end but still a must listen.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • aaron
  • los angeles, CA, United States
  • 04-28-13

Why The Songs??!!

I'm leaving this review because I did not read anywhere that there would be songs in this "audiobook". I don't mean the author wrote a line or two of a song, as I've seen done in many audiobooks in the past. I mean, this guy wrote out the ENTIRE song into the story, and the poor narrator had to sing it in its entirety! The narrator is GREAT, by the way, but I didn't get this book to have songs sung to me... especially songs I don't like. It's an audio-BOOK, NOT an album of gospel music!!

To add salt to the wound, this book is VERY VERY VERY slow, after about a third of the way through it. Seriously, do we need to know about every little thing these characters do on a daily basis?? I half expected this author to go into detail about the breathing and sleeping habits of the main character at any time, describing and counting each breath, up to a million.

Yes, it is JUST THAT BORING. I'm not kidding.

I read "The Power Of One" and I thought it was fantastic. I have absolutely no idea how this book is rated as highly as it is, because it is a far cry from that one. It's as if the author literally was sleep walking through this one. It is so painfully boring.

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

not up to expectation

While Humphrey Bower has done a wonderful job reading the book, as usual, Courtenay has not lived upto the mark -- especially when you compare this work with Power of One and Tandia. Those two books were simply awesome and left me with a great feeling after reading them.

Bryce once again shows his strong feelings against racism as in his first 2 books, which is appreciable. But the quality of the oveall story is no match to his first 2 books.

I dont think I will listen to this book again unless I am bored to death!

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Engrossing

This is one of the best downloads in my two years as a member of Audible. Although the battle scenes were somewhat graphic and overlong, they set the stage for some amazing events. The character development is superb. I loved the reader as well as he was amazing in his ability to do Australian, British, Irish, and American accents.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • John
  • Asquith NSW, N/A, Australia
  • 02-22-06

Great Narration

An interesting story with lots of interesting historical facts. The narrator does an amazing job on this one. I recommend this book.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • B.J.
  • Minneapolis, MN, United States
  • 03-24-13

Humphrey Bower saves the day.

This is typical Courtenay fare. We always get a character (or two) with a hard-luck beginning, tons of familial dysfunction and - after trials and tribulations - redemption. With this book there's at least 3 of those characters, depending on your definition of hard-luck. I would never have listened to more than a few hours if it had not been for one thing - Humphrey Bower. One of the characters is such a perfect fit for his expert narration that it saves the entire thing.

This book is too long by 25%, too repetitive and too fantastical to call it historical fiction. Courtenay has a way of picking up a phrase and beating it into the ground unmercifully for an entire book. In spite of that, it's a great listen just because of Humphrey Bower. Really. He's that good.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Wide-ranging, Well-told Story

This book starts out as a 5-star book. In the last third it slows down a bit as the story of the third main character is told first person past tense. This part loses some of the energy and character development. Overall, this is still a very good book which I'd recommend.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Have yet to read a bad Courtenay book

So far I've read The Power of One, Tandia, and now Brother Fish. I loved them all and appreciate the fact that Courtenay writes long books. In the end they're never long enough. This story had the unexpected surprise of partially taking place in the area where I grew up, and when one of the characters is taken to the hospital where I was born, I burst out laughing. I know, I know, this has nothing to do with critiquing the book.
This book actually contains four major stories, all of them fastenating. I just downloaded The Potatoe Factory - the first in a trilogy, and I can't wait to be taken away by this masterful story teller yet again. Courtenay isn't perfect, but when you're in love, you tend to overlook the small stuff. When I look at how many books Courtenay has on Audible, it gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • tired & cynical
  • 12-15-14

Great Surprise

What made the experience of listening to Brother Fish the most enjoyable?

This is a great story and is told well. It's the story of a young Australian man born in a poor Tasmanian fishing community and his best mate. This is a difficult one for a reader as the setting moves from Russia to China to America but he does a truly great job in that you really don't notice him 'doing' voices. The reader is pretty good at accents, I greatly admired his Cantonese & German pronunciation (!) and his singing voice was pretty good.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I imagine Jacko is everyone's favourite character as he is a real 'everyman' type. A good bloke with all the normal flaws and foibles. I really liked the other characters too, Jacko was the one I could best relate to.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A rip roaring roller coaster of a novel with mafia and soldiers.

Any additional comments?

I think I got this in some sort of promotion audible had, it's not my normal sort of book, but it got good reviews and so I took a chance. I am so glad I did! I wanted to give it to a friend as a 'real book' and I had to get a second hand copy from Australia. Thank you to audible and audible listeners who reviewed it, it was excellent.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Fran
  • 10-29-11

oh dear!

Having recently listened to The Power of One and truly loved the writing, characterisation and reading, I was keen to go for another BC novel. On the strength of the Audible reviews I chose Brother Fish. I can honestly say that I abandoned it with a heavy heart as usually I let something I am not that keen on roll on when walking the dog etc. However, I could not continue with this trite Boys' Own story of the Korean war. Yes, there were some parts which were engaging but I found myself really turned off by the language used to describe the Koreans and the violence. It was just trite and far far too long. I gave up half way through. Bitterly disappointing and I am reluctant to try another BC.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Paul
  • 04-14-11

Best Yet

This book is simply the best audiobook I have downloaded to date and held me for all the 30+ hours of it!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Trevor Ambler
  • 02-05-18

Excellent.

Excellent book. A great story, that is very well written and brilliantly read. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Lucy Thorpe
  • 09-18-17

A Cracking Good Yarn

I downloaded this because I remember reading 'The Power of One' many years ago and loved the story of triumph over adversity. My initial listen of this left me a little underwhelmed and there were throughout many over simplifications which my older self has raised an eyebrow to. So why five stars? Simple answer - a great story! In the end I just couldn't stop listening - I just had to know how it ended. Is this a great piece of literature - no. Is this a truly engaging and entertaining listen - yes and you can't say fairer than that!

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • Jamie Jones
  • 04-12-17

A Great Story

Any additional comments?

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. I have listened to over 20 Audible audio books and this has been by far the best. I loved everything about it, the characters and their stories, the adventure of the different countries brought together in to an uplifting and happy story. Humphrey Bower's narration was also fantastic, much better than anything I have listened to so far, I felt he 'acted' the characters rather than just reading the story, as others do. I will always now look out for Bryce Courtenay books or Humphrey Bower's narrations

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • dickieL
  • 06-28-16

Another outstanding audio book from Bryce Courtney

Having finished this book (my third in a row) I genuinely can't wait to start the next one. My morning and evening commutes have never been more enjoyable.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Sharon Frater
  • 02-05-16

Too much waffle

Any additional comments?

I bought this after enjoying The Persimmon Tree but ...oh dear. I quite enjoyed about 8 hours of it and quite frankly that's about how long it should have been. It was extremely repetitive and it was only the fact that I was on holiday with time to spare that I managed to finish it. When I dozed off whilst listening as I did a few times with the boredom I didn't bother to rewind. I won't be buying any more of this author.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Julie B.
  • 08-16-15

Brilliant!

Would you consider the audio edition of Brother Fish to be better than the print version?

I haven't read the book so can't comment.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Jacko and Jimmy equally.

Have you listened to any of Humphrey Bower’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes. He's always fantastic.

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

Both. There are some very moving parts.

Any additional comments?

If I'd known half of this 31 hour book was about the Korean War I probably wouldn't have selected it, and I would have missed an absolute treat. Brother Fish is an epic tale about friendship, loyalty and the power of the human spirit. Humphrey Bower is a superb narrator. Listening to him is like listening to a full cast of characters. Brother Fish is a great book and definitely one of my favourite listens.

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  • Story
  • romeo and
  • 08-13-15

Best book ever, what an epic story!!!

I didn't want this book to end! I loved it and the narrator was incredible. You will love this book as it has so many stories within stories but it all comes together. I loved all of the characters in this story, I laughed, I cried. Buy this and you too will have hours of amazing entertainment x