Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Upcoming release: The Persimmon Tree by Bryce Courtenay

Bryce Courtenay is, like so many other of Australia's big names, an import. Unlike most of them, he doesn't originally hail from New Zealand, but rather from South Africa. He has been living in Australia now for many years, after having been banned from returning to his homeland because he had started a weekend school for Africans.

My favourite books of his would have to be The Power of One and it's sequel Tandia, both set at least partially in South Africa. For many years now he has featured a lot of Australia in his writings, including the very popular Australian trilogy which tells the story of Australia's convict past. It is a bit strange to me that when I started that trilogy it really didn't do a lot for me! It's one of those books that I intend to go back to another time!

Having said all that, whilst Bryce Courtenay is not really one of my favourite authors, I did read and enjoy Sylvia, and having now read the details of his next book, The Persimmon Tree, on his publisher's website, I am pretty sure that I am going to give this one a go.

The Persimmon Tree is unashamedly a love story. I've always wanted to write one but until now have been afraid to do so. The reason is simple enough: most men in my experience have very little idea of what really goes on in a woman's heart or head. Now, at the age of 74, I just might know enough and have sufficient courage to write on the subject - the way of a man with a woman, of a woman with a man.

My story is set in the Pacific, although not in the paradise we've always been led to believe exists there. It is 1942 in Java and the Japanese are invading the islands like a swarm of locusts.

I have tried to capture the essence of love - how in a world gone mad with malice and hate, it has the ability to forgive and to heal. As it is in this story, love is always hard earned but, in the end, a most wonderful and necessary emotion. Without love, life for most of us would lack true meaning.


Bryce Courtenay
The Persimmon Tree is released in Australia on 12 November.

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