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The Persimmon Tree cover art

The Persimmon Tree

By: Bryce Courtenay
Narrated by: Humphrey Bower
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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

What listeners say about The Persimmon Tree

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
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Brilliant

I am not normally a fan of war stories, but Bryce had me hook line and sinker. Humphrey Bower was amazing - in my opinion an audio book is only as good as its narrator, and this one is simply marvellous.

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6 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not his best

I really like Bryce Courtenay books but this one was a bit hard to stomach. I found the way he wrote about Japanese people very disturbing. It's a war/love story with the lead character much like his other lead characters such as Danny Dunn. Humphrey Bower is brilliant as usual. A lot of people loved this book so it may have been the racism that put me off.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perhaps one of the best novels I have read

Bryce Courtney, alas no more, is one of the New World's great writers. As always, he paints detailed pictures of his characters who are believable and sufficiently complex to be interesting. This is my third of the books of his and I have listened to on Audible and I am simply in awe of his writing in this one. I learned a lot, felt a lot and was riveted by the story. I could hardly stop listening to this novel and was sorry - even after 27 hours - it ended at all. He writes somewhat like Dickens with passion and detail, pushing you back in time until you feel like an observing bystander. He is more contemporary in style and in each instance writes about a different era.

Humphrey Bower - his regular - was an almost faultless narrator on this occasion. He excelled this time and added immensely to the writing like few could. Amazing characterisations of either sex. I believed every one of them, What a great team they made.

I really recommend this book highly. It is a GREAT book. How nice to leave such a legacy of work behind like this. A man of many talents, modern for his day, and yet he will be remembered mostly for his writing I am sure.

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4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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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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2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Total enjoyment

it was a good listening experience. Through it was too long but it had the attraction to keep on listening...

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Sad but beautiful

This book had me in tears on more than one occasion. An author that can produce raw emotion like that is a genius in my opinion.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Outstanding, as always!

What did you like most about The Persimmon Tree?

Amazing and original storyline, could NOT stop listening!

What did you like best about this story?

Humphrey Bower manages to make these books come to life. A great book is only as good as its narrator.

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

He is a wonderful narrator. I have thoroughly enjoyed ALL of his many narrations.

Any additional comments?

A perfect ending that made me buy the sequel "Fishing for Stars" immediately!

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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What A Saga!

Bryce Courtenay is a wonderful story teller. I have read many of his books, thinking I had read them all, I began this one expecting to have my memory pricked. I am so glad that I hadn't read it previously. What a story.
I have loved listening to this book, so much so, that I have neglected everything around me for about 4 days.
If you like a good romantic, historical novel, this is the next one you must pick up.
As for the narrator - he brought to life the many and various characters.
This is the first book that I have given 5 stars in each category.
I loved it.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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thoroughly enjoyed this book

I really enjoyed this book found it hard to put aside until I could listen again. besides enjoyable story very informative, about life in the islands during WW11

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  • Overall
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history and story great.

fantastic history and great story. loved the whole thing.looking for the next book of his now.

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