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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; 2013 Christine Courtenay (P)2007 Bolinda Publishing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By theenglishmajor on 09-26-10

Best Author- Narrator combo on the market

No one spins a tale quite like Bryce Courtenay. Add Humphrey Bower's narration and you have true magic. Bower is masterful doing all the accents for the multiple nationalities of Courtenay's characters. The two are forever linked in my mind. I waited quite awhile for Audible to offer the Persimmon Tree so I could read this two book series in order. It was well worth the wait. As always with Courtenay, in addition to a great story, you get a bit of history from the other side of the world. This wonderful story takes place during WW II in the South Pacific and brings all the human drama of that time to the listener with wonderful detail. Part of the story was a bit reminiscent of "Geisha". Loved listening to this and am looking forward to "Fishing for Stars" next.

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44 of 45 people found this review helpful

By CBDC on 02-13-11

An excellent sequel

I had read FISHING FOR STARS previously when THE PERSIMMON TREE (which is the earlier book) was not yet on Audible. Now I am reading FISHING FOR STARS again, I remembered large parts but there are details that I couldn't have understood in the same way in my earlier reading. The PERSIMMON TREE takes place in the Pacific Theater of WWII and provides an important perspective into the war in the islands many of which are now Indonesia, the Japanese war experience, history, cultural traditions, the comfort women, the old Japan and the overlay of the new one, survival and psychological scars. With Humphrey Bower reading, the books are everything that the best of Coutenay's books are.

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64 of 66 people found this review helpful

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By Philippa on 09-10-11

Compelling read

I enjoyed every minute this book. It was wide ranging in time and place, with interesting characters and insight into the Japanese which was fascinating in its context to their occupation of Java during the Second World War.The reading, with the varying accents of male and female of different races was absorbing and added considerably to my enjoyment. The book also told me so much about this period in history, such as the Dutch occupation, their treatment of the Javanese, the terrible use of young Dutch girls as' comfort women' and the experience of 'Anna' and the upper levels of the Japanese forces. Her 'training ' in sexual pleasuring ,her retention of her innocence'the pearl' and her eventual reunion with 'Nick' ,were all absorbing listening.
The adventures of Nick himself were real Boys Own adventure, from sailing the yacht Butterfly from Java to Australia, to his training and success behind enemy lines,his background as a gentle butterfly collector and his search for his father, eventually dovetailing with his first love Anna.
I loved every minute.beta inappVoteInfo

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

By Lou on 03-26-14

Touching love story

This is an intimate, intricate story which I will return to many times in the future. The characters are vividly drawn and the storyline shows real humanity and humility. Seeing how war touches certain characters and how they react to it made me angry, sad - desperately sad, hopeful, touched, and, in the end, inspired.

The book is long, with lots of narrative and dialogue, yet it never feels forced. It flows beautifully. Each time the story moves from one place to another I was left bereft, wondering what was going to happen next in the previous storyline, before being very quickly swept up in a new or delighting in a continuance of a previous thread like I was greeting an old friend.

This is the first novel I have read/listened to by Bryce Courtenay but I will be looking out for him again. I remain moved by his writing.

Humphrey Bower is a masterful narrator with a wonderful array of voices to bring each character to life. Again, I will be looking for more novels narrated by him.

I found it hard knowing I was drawing near to the close of this story and I know I will be thinking about it for a very long time.

I hope that you love this story as much as I do, and that you are left feeling moved. I feel my life is richer for having experienced this story.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 10-21-17

Thoroughly enjoyable

Another masterpiece my Courtney.
Highly detailed descriptions, and engaging story present a different face of the Vietnam war.
The thread of separated lovers, woven amongst tales of alcoholism, addiction, war crimes, coming of age and more.
Just great, although rather lengthy.

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By Julie on 09-15-17

Couldn't stop listening

Thank you Bryce for yet another incredibly entertaining and informative story I loved every second. I appreciated all the research involved in writing such a story Thank you

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