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Publisher's Summary

Simultaneous release of the sequel to the best-selling The Persimmon Tree.

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?

©2013 Christine Courtenay; 2008 Bryce Courtenay (P)2008 Bolinda Publishing

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Audible Bought the Wrong Book

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.

43 of 45 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

I think I'm finally sated -my 10th Courtenay

and the least interesting. I admit, it could be that I've simply heard too much of the same but I really liked the first book of this story, The Persimmon Tree. In Fishing, I was hopeful given the underlying green messages but it just didn't do it. Better are Tommy's more subtle observations (in Four Fires) of the hurt being done to the Australian ecosystem. Also, as it began, I was struck that Humphrey Bower, whose voice I have come to know and love, was not quite up to par.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Louise
  • WINTON, CA, USA
  • 01-17-09

Okay Bryce I Just Finished Fishing For Stars

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.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Just Blech!

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Complex Love Triangle

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).

20 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Pembroke Pines, FL, United States
  • 10-26-10

Persimmon tree part two

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ho Hum

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Lulew
  • California, United States
  • 06-28-13

Re-Run

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A new story without all the political statements. The first half of the novel was a re-telling of the Persimmon Tree. The second half of the novel was about saving the planet. If he wanted to write a book about saving the environment, then do it, but don't hide it in the sequel to a novel.

What could Bryce Courtenay have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Cut out about half of the novel.

Which character – as performed by Humphrey Bower – was your favorite?

None in this novel.

What character would you cut from Fishing for Stars?

Marg, Anna, Nick.......

Any additional comments?

I was so disappointed and kept holding on hoping that something would happen to make me love this book as much as the Persimmon Tree. I was excited to find out what happened to the characters, but was soon done with the story. Could there be one more coincidence that turned out well for every person involved? If I was anyone of the characters I'd a bought a lottery ticket. Even if it didn't win, something would have happened to make it okay in the end. It is all....."A funny thing happened to me on the way to the office...." So, So, So disappointed. I had several other novels in my wish list, that will be now be deleted.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Hmmmmm...

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

The Disappointing Sequel to "The Persimmon Tree"

Spoiler Alert: This review is for “Fishing for Stars,” by Bryce Courtnay. It is a sequel to “The Persimmon Tree.” I will be discussing elements of both books. If you haven’t read “The Persimmon Tree,” I highly recommend that you do. And then skip “Fishing for Stars.”

“The Persimmon Tree” is how I discovered writer Bruce Courtnay. Born in South Africa, he had a notable career in advertising before retiring, moving to Australia and becoming a highly successful novelist. “The Persimmon Tree” was a complete surprise to me. It is the story of a young boy, Nick Duncan, and Anna Till, his first love, and it opens at the beginning of the Japanese invasion of Indonesia in WWII.

Nick escapes on a sailboat that belonged to Anna’s father and after run-ins with the Japanese, winds up in Australia, now of combat age. He has an affair with an older woman, Marg Hamilton, fights at Guadalcanal with the Americans, and much later, rediscovers his lost Anna.

Anna’s story is weirder and more harrowing. She is forced to become a “comfort woman” by a high-ranking Japanese officer, Konoi Akira, forcibly addicted to heroin to keep her under control, and trained in the art of kinbaku, a ritualized form of rope bondage and sexual torture. This is why the officer wanted her—to perform kinbaku on him.

Long story short, Nick finds Anna (still addicted) running a kinbaku house in Australia, and decides to take her for a heroin-free cruise on her father’s former sailing ship, in an effort to help her go cold turkey. (Not Anna’s idea, by the way.) They sail into the sunset at the end of “The Persimmon Tree,” leaving us hopeful for their future.

Though I read this book years ago, it made a huge impression on me. It was tightly plotted and pulled me right through the story without a pause. I cared about the characters and rooted for Anna and Nick’s happy reunion.

I subsequently read Courtnay’s magnificent “Potato Factory” trilogy based on the life of Ikey Solomon, the model for Dickens’ Fagan character in “Oliver Twist,” plus several other tales. I enjoyed every one of them, even the last one he wrote, “Jack of Diamonds.” I didn’t think it was his best, but he was dying of stomach cancer while writing it, so I thought he deserved a pass.

Which made reading “Fishing for Stars” all the more dismaying. It is, in my opinion, a hot mess. Anna did not respond well to the amateur intervention and stays addicted. She has morphed into a skilled businesswoman with an insatiable appetite for more. Mostly more money, and she isn’t overly choosy how she makes it. She and Nick are lovers, but she won’t allow any touching below the waist as she suffers from vaginismus—a painful cramping of the vaginal muscles. She believes her power lies in preserving her virginity.

Nick admits to being completely satisfied by Anna’s sexual ministrations, but he chunters on ad nauseum about his “need to possess her fully” for YEARS. If I were Anna, I would have dumped him.

Marg Hamilton, the woman with whom he has an affair in his youth, reappears, newly widowed. After several years, she consents to sleep with him again, as long as Anna agrees. (I don’t know any men that patient. Do you?) Marg has become a green activist in direct opposition to most of Anna’s commercial activities. The two women call each other “the green bitch” and “Princess Plunder,” and settle down to really despising each other’s guts.

The first third of the book sets the scene and fills in the background for those who haven’t read “The Persimmon Tree.” Not brilliant, but readable. The second part of the story is an action-filled, well-plotted visit to Japan, where Anna confronts her old nemesis Konoi Akira. We get into Yakuza, the Shield Society, kidnapping, Manga porn, murder and mayhem, and it’s all pretty interesting.

The third part of the book is about Marg and her conservation efforts. It is essentially a long and tedious history of the Green political movement in Tasmania and I almost gave up.

In the end, Marg screws Anna (metaphorically), and Anna screws Marg. Nick spends the whole book as a sort of pingpong ball being batted between these two women.

I have always admired Courtnay’s portrayals of women. They are always three-dimensional, strong portraits, contrasting dramatically with the way men often write female characters. However, the way Marg and Anna are written in “Fishing for Stars” turns them into two equally unpleasant viragos—an impression heightened by the narrator, Humphrey Bower. (I listened to the audiobook.) Bower—who is brilliant at accents, from southern Black American to Japanese¬—plays Marg as an unusually sniffy school librarian, and Anna as a bitch.

In the final analysis, “Fishing for Stars” is a bad book by a good author, and a very disappointing finale to the characters I loved in “The Persimmon Tree.” I strongly encourage you to read Courtnay’s other work, in particular “The Persimmon Tree,” “The Potato Factory Trilogy,” and “Brother Fish.” You won’t be disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mick'sMoll
  • 02-28-15

A disappointing sequel.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

A different storyline with characters resembling their Persimmon Tree personae.

Would you ever listen to anything by Bryce Courtenay again?

I am heading towards owning ALL of Bryce Courtenay books provided they are read by Humphrey Bower. For all round entertainment, including a bit of education, they are excellent.

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

I first heard Humphrey Bower narrating Shantaram and from that moment I have hunted out his performances. He could read 'small print' and make it riveting

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not for me, but everyone has their own opinion.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rob
  • 03-08-09

Another 5 star by Bryce Courtenay

I'm totally addicted to the words of Bryce Courtenay. Once you have listened to one book you just have to hear them all.
I loved the characters in this 'so much more than a love story' and felt comletely drawn into their lives.
However, it does follow on from 'The Persimmon Tree', which I read afterwards, but did not find on audible.
This was wonderfully read by Humphrey Bower, who finds the perfect voice for each character. A must to listen to.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lou
  • 04-04-14

Beautifully written, but difficult characters

I bought this book to listen to as soon as I'd finished The Persimmon Tree, which I adored.

This book takes up Nick Duncan's story many years after the end of The Pesimmon Tree. I was immediately saddened to learn of the death of one of the characters, and was shocked by how strident another had become. While the story was just as well written as previously, and the narrator again was magnificent, I am left with a feeling of ambivalence. The innocence of the first book, in marked contrast to the war and atrocities it was set around, has been thoroughly and rudely ripped away in this book.

One part of the story which I particularly liked was Anna and Nick's visit to Japan. The style of this section was much more akin to The Persimmon Tree.

But sadly, the overall feeling I am left with at the end of this book is a distaste for all three of the main characters. Such a shame.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sharon
  • 05-07-09

Bryce Courtenay - where have you been all my life?

I've only recently discovered Bryce Courtenay. I can't get his words out of my head. Fishing for Stars is such a beautiful and tragic love triangle story. I wish I could go to Beautiful Bay! Humphrey Bower is a fantastic narrator bringing Australasia to life. I almost feel like I am eavesdropping on the conversations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Paul D
  • 08-06-17

Gritty antipodean tale

Gritty saga set in the Pacific :Tasmania- Japan- Indonesia. Politics, big businesses, mixed wth green issues and sex. A little too much sex perhaps, neither really graphic nor gratuitous, just too much that leaves you wishing Mr Courtney would resolve his issues on a psychiatrists couch rather than in print. Nevertheless another good listen from BC and I will certainly listen to the next book in the series

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrew Powell
  • 02-08-16

Great narrator

very capable reader who played all the characters very well. a thoroughly enjoyable listen. Thanks

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peter
  • 05-01-15

Fishing for Stars

Too much detail. Easy to get lost. Good narration. Excellent story. To appreciate this book, should read the Persimmon Tree.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • annie
  • 06-23-12

fishing for statrs

I have read several of Bryce Courtenay's novels. He confronts difficult and sensitive issues. I applaud him.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • D
  • 06-14-15

absolute rubbish

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The story line was banal. Nothing inspired me to listen to another word. I think I got to chapter four.

What will your next listen be?

Worlds without end was my next listen. This was absolutely enthralling.

What didn’t you like about Humphrey Bower’s performance?

It was not his performance it was the story. If Humphrey did not have a good story how on earth could he make it interesting.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Fishing for Stars?

From page one to whatever it ended with

Any additional comments?

Sorry this had no story line to keep me interested

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • 04-15-09

I'm now a Bryce Courtney fan

I read this after Brother Fish and, again, become totally involved with the characters - now I want The Persimmon Tree!
There is only one drawback - the narration is great but the voices used in the two books were similar. Jack McKenzie's voice in my head in Brother Fish then became Nick Duncan etc. It took some getting over, but worth it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 05-09-18

A Great Book!

Really found this book hard to put down at times, but occasionally it was a bit far fetched. The narrator is magnificent!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 12-19-17

Sequel syndrome 😔

A continuation of the tale of Anna and Nick, this story begins with promise fleshing out the life post world war 2. Yet quickly intrigue falters as the story seems repetitive of the first novel. More over, the elderly version of these once vibrant characters, lacks colour.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 07-24-17

Rambling without clear direction

As a follow-on from their persimmon tree it lacked depth of storyline
Whilst there was some interesting information areas of Japanese culture rambled on a lot of dates without enough action to keep me fully engaged

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Renee
  • 10-10-16

Another masterpiece

I just love a good sequel! Another masterful collaboration from a fantastic author/narrator combo. Next one downloading now.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • meredith
  • 06-15-16

A Grreat Listen....love this narrator

well worth reading.This is sequel to The Persimon Tree which I would also highly recommend. Very tight , highly skilled , beautifully written work.