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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping saga from Bryce Courtenay, Australia's most popular author.

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    1,365
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    781
  • 3 Stars
    234
  • 2 Stars
    69
  • 1 Stars
    37

Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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    403
  • 3 Stars
    90
  • 2 Stars
    20
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    14

Story

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    604
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  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    28
Sort by:
  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Cid
  • LAGUNA BEACH, CA, United States
  • 08-22-12

Beautiful Story

Any additional comments?

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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  • Story
  • Mary
  • Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada
  • 08-20-12

Loved it!

What made the experience of listening to The Persimmon Tree the most enjoyable?

The narration was incredible, the story compelling, combining to make a memorable experience.

What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Bower brings the characters to life.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The relationship between the Japanese commander and the heroine was emotional.

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  • Story
  • A.
  • Saint Petersburg, FL, United States
  • 08-10-12

Terrific

What did you like best about this story?

Details of life in exotic locale

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

Consistency

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

Tihl. I bet he's got some great stories

Any additional comments?

I will look for more by this author and reader

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Erwin
  • Tallahassee, FL, United States
  • 07-30-12

Outstanding

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would highly recommend this book--outstanding performance of a great story.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Persimmon Tree?

Too many to count.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

Accent, difference in voices for the different characters--feeling for the subject.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Julia
  • EASLEY, SC, United States
  • 07-24-12

Fascinating Listen!

If you could sum up The Persimmon Tree in three words, what would they be?

Spellbinding, Emotional, Interesting

What other book might you compare The Persimmon Tree to and why?

My all-time favorite has been Christie. This book ranks up there alongside that book.<br/>It is a spellbinding human interest book will filled with intrigue, as well. I did not want the book to end. I am disappointed in the reviews of the sequel, which I immediately sought. I will give it more thought before choosing to listen to that book.

What about Humphrey Bower’s performance did you like?

Bower has to be the most talented narrator I have heard. His different dialects offer increased interest in the story. It was difficult to put this book down.

Any additional comments?

I am not fond of war stories. I do not like to be reminded of the atrocities of war that continue today. I was reluctant to listen to this book because of that fact. The slaughter of the Australian troops at the beginning of the book almost made me put it down. But I had invested a credit with the book and decided to give it a chance. The story and narration far exceeded my expectations. This was my first Courtenay book and I have just purchased The Power of One even though I do not like boxing nor do I care for stories of South Africa. I guess you can tell I do not like violence nor oppression. But I am confident that Courtenay can tell a story that will hold my attention even in that environment.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great story with interesting historical content

Would you listen to The Persimmon Tree again? Why?

no- no need

What did you like best about this story?

Information about Indonesia under Dutch rule and war years

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

All good

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

No

Any additional comments?

Am about to listen to sequel- can't wait

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

disappointing

Humphrey Bower is a wonderful narrator and I usually enjoy the storytelling of Bryce Courtenay. This story was very formulaic with cartoonish characters. There were some interesting moments but not the best of his books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Michael
  • Ballina, Australia
  • 07-13-12

This Wonderful Book Came To Life

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

A novel which kick starts you into an adventure that never loses plausibility? Can't stop.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters are believable by the lost standards of heroism and honor seemingly forgotten by today's generation?<br/>

Which scene was your favorite?

The final meeting with his father, ending that phase of his search

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When he met the Japanese Broadcast officer he was sent to hunt down, and discovered that they were both human beings in the middle of war.

Any additional comments?

I have read every Bryce Courtney novel written, and have thoroughly enjoyed his incredibly detailed narrative style, which is so beautifully brought to life in this Audio book by Humphrey Bower.<br/>I Buy the Audio Books for exactly this reason? To bring a novel that I have enjoyed to life!<br/><br/>PLEASE do the sequel, "Fishing For Stars" in an unabridged version?<br/><br/>Abridged versions cannot ever do justice to the depth of his novels.<br/>

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  • Performance
  • Story

Offbeat, Austraila, Indoneisa, WWII, Wonderful

What made the experience of listening to The Persimmon Tree the most enjoyable?

Very different and compelling story. Real life at its finest and worst at a difficult time. This book kept my interest throughtout and tore at my heart and finally mended it with a slight scar. Narrator was excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

The honestly

What does Humphrey Bower bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The reality of first hand experience. I felt as if I was there.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were too many parts of the story that touched me to mention just one moment.

Any additional comments?

You you have a need for drama, love, compassion, adventure, history, you will make this book one of your favorites. It was truth in humanity. The good and the bad.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

What an enjoyable audible!

I really enjoyed the story but wonder if that is partially due to Mr. Bower's performance! What a narrator???.a five star plus performance. The story is a very interesting side to WWII that you don't often hear or know much about. Enjoyed the history as well as the interesting characters of the story. Have to research what else Humphrey Bower has narrated.