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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel | [Jan-Philipp Sendker]

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats: A Novel

When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be - until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the listener’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.
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Publisher's Summary

A poignant and inspirational love story set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats spans the decades between the 1950s and the present.

When a successful New York lawyer suddenly disappears without a trace, neither his wife nor his daughter Julia has any idea where he might be - until they find a love letter he wrote many years ago to a Burmese woman they have never heard of. Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father’s past, Julia decides to travel to the village where the woman lived. There she uncovers a tale of unimaginable hardship, resilience, and passion that will reaffirm the listener’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.

Jan-Philipp Sendker, born in Hamburg in 1960, was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995 and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. In 2000 he published Cracks in the Great Wall, a nonfiction book about China. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is his first novel. He lives in Berlin with his family.

©2002 Karl Blessing Verlag. Translation 2006 by Kevin Wiliarty (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Absolute magic…Like a spell, it haunts. Like love, it’s going to endure.” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times best-selling author)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (727 )
5 star
 (304)
4 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (623 )
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Story
4.2 (616 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (20)
Performance
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  •  
    Marjorie Santa Rosa, CA, United States 03-04-15
    Marjorie Santa Rosa, CA, United States 03-04-15 Member Since 2015

    I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "1950's Burmese Love Story, A Bit Magical"

    I enjoyed this book, both for the literary quality and the reading. While listening, I was frequently lost in my visions of Burma; traversing the mountainsides with Tin Win. This love story enters into the realm of "too good to be true" but in an endearing and thought-provoking manner. The story teaches about the power of love and dedication. This is not a story about gorgeous people living perfect lives. No, this book is more a study of love existing admidst hardship, about friendship, and about how we humans change over time often being required to make difficult choices that change the course of our lives. The story line does stretch the imagination but it works. It's beautiful and inspirational. I do recommend this book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 07-28-14
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 07-28-14 Member Since 2015

    I am an avid "reader"- I prefer to listen to books rather than read them due to the added dimension added by the narrator.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    283
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    164
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    Story
    "A Beautiful Love Story"

    I could not stop listening to this book. Often, I can't get into a book if the beginning does not grab me right away. This one did that and more. It is a story of the most beautiful and enduring love that spans two continents. The characters are unusual... a boy who goes blind and a girl with club feet who begin as friends and ultimately become lovers. This is probably one of the top 10 books I have read and is in the same place in my heart as Cutting for Stone and 1000 Splendid Suns. It's that good. Rarely do we see such an unselfish love. It was humbling to read The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Terse 10-26-13
    Terse 10-26-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "5 stars"
    Would you listen to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats again? Why?

    Yes, this book is such a beautiful story I could listen to several times just to pick up on parts I might not have paid enough attention to the first time through


    What did you like best about this story?

    The oddest love story I have ever enjoyed. Not much of a romance reader, this is a love story like none I've read before


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    Easy to listen to, character were different yet not contrived


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Too long for one sitting.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Arlington, MA, United States 05-25-13
    C. Arlington, MA, United States 05-25-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I wanted to like this..."

    I really wanted to like this; it had been recommended to me by 2 people whose recommendations I usually love. However, it didn't quite do it for me. I found the structure of the story -- a retelling of history from one person to another - was a bit contrived, and I don't think successful in this application. i kept hoping it would take flight, but i never felt that it did. I found the narrator contributed to this too - not the best choice for this story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jobuthecat NE, USA 05-01-13
    jobuthecat NE, USA 05-01-13

    jtc

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    "Disappointed"
    What disappointed you about The Art of Hearing Heartbeats?

    This is my first audiobook so maybe I just have to get used to it. My reading voice would have been so different from the narrators, and I found it irritating at times. Too cute.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jan-Philipp Sendker again?

    I found the story overly sentimental and implausible.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Cassandra Campbell?

    I haven't listened to other narrators so I don't know. I didn't like the voices she chose, especially for MiMi.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    U Ma was an interesting and compelling character and story teller.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richelle Sparta, MI, United States 11-25-12
    Richelle Sparta, MI, United States 11-25-12 Member Since 2013

    Nellie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great Love Story"

    I really enjoyed this story, it was highly recommended to me so I really did not know what to expect! This is right up there with Cutting for Stone. Very well written and hard to stop listening to and a surprise ending. I also highly recommend it!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Advance, NC, United States 02-23-14
    Gregg Advance, NC, United States 02-23-14 Member Since 2008
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    "Not good"
    Would you try another book from Jan-Philipp Sendker and/or Cassandra Campbell?

    Probably not. I couldn't relate to the characters at all.


    What was most disappointing about Jan-Philipp Sendker’s story?

    I couldn't connect with the story. I found the mysterious, airy mental qualities of the main character overdone and weaving that with the story didn't work for me.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Art of Hearing Heartbeats?

    I couldn't relate to the characters at all.


    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary 04-23-15
    Mary 04-23-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Thought provoking"

    A bit of a slow start but I didn't want it to end. I'm not prone to giving five stars but this one earned it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    heather 04-19-15
    heather 04-19-15 Member Since 2014
    ratings
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    8
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    "Amazing"

    This book was well read by narrator and amazingly written! Over loved it very much! Would recommend to other people!!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Constant Shopper Maine 04-18-15
    Constant Shopper Maine 04-18-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Was a sweet story but left me a little saddened."

    Beautifully written and well read but the story itself left me with questions about why he did not return sooner and left me wanting a little more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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