The Persimmon Tree : The Persimmon Tree

  • by Bryce Courtenay
  • Narrated by Humphrey Bower
  • Series: The Persimmon Tree
  • 27 hrs and 56 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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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- Philippa

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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- Lou

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-07-2010
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd