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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 (446 )
5 star
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4.1 (374 )
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4.2 (371 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    C. Arlington, MA, United States 05-25-13
    C. Arlington, MA, United States 05-25-13 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
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    13
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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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 2010

    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 2004
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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
  •  
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 07-28-14
    DIANE Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada 07-28-14 Member Since 2009

    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
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nadine CAMINO, CALIFORNIA, United States 07-18-14
    nadine CAMINO, CALIFORNIA, United States 07-18-14 Member Since 2013

    Clever

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "True love story"
    Where does The Art of Hearing Heartbeats rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    5 starts. Couldn't put it down. Very soothing narrator. Pulls you writ into the story.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Tin and MiMi. I felt that they were the perfect fit for each other. Each had obstacles to overcome.


    Have you listened to any of Cassandra Campbell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    This is the first


    Who was the most memorable character of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and why?

    Well this is hard because I liked both Tin and MiMi.


    Any additional comments?

    Truly a wonderful story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sofiya Turkey 06-22-14
    Sofiya Turkey 06-22-14 Member Since 2010

    Sofiya

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Very boring"
    Would you try another book from Jan-Philipp Sendker and/or Cassandra Campbell?

    Unless I will be recommended by a person whose opinion and tatse I trust, definitely I will not try any book by J.-Ph. Sendker as I really had to force myself to listen to this one. Something not in my line. As for the performance, it is really good, so Cassandra Campbell has managed to do a great job on a poor material.


    What could Jan-Philipp Sendker have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    I do not know. Just to write something different.


    What about Cassandra Campbell’s performance did you like?

    Highly professional.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Just boredom.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    GardenLady CT United States 06-14-14
    GardenLady CT United States 06-14-14 Member Since 2013

    GardenLady412

    ratings
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    44
    1
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    Story
    "I couldn't stop listening"
    If you could sum up The Art of Hearing Heartbeats in three words, what would they be?

    Beautiful beyond description


    What did you like best about this story?

    Two simple people, in a country and time so different from what we know, overcome profound tests of character through love. They possess faith which sustains them through painful years of separation. This is a story about wealth, both spiritual and monetary. It is told in a way that brings the listener into the sights, sounds, even smells of the lands and people. It is far more than a love story, although it is that. There is hardship, discovery, struggle, loyalty and triumph. The central characters, who come together in childhood, seem simple at first, but as the story unfolds their true strength shines. This story lifted me up with joy yet brought me to tears.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda Casselberry, FL, United States 06-08-14
    Rhonda Casselberry, FL, United States 06-08-14 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Touching"

    This is a touching and painful story. A gifted writer and fantastic narrator. Among the good in this world there is always evil...life is so difficult until you think of others problems....it makes you grateful.....this book shows this so well.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Omtomyheart SAN JOSE, CA, United States 06-07-14
    Omtomyheart SAN JOSE, CA, United States 06-07-14 Member Since 2014

    A mother, a wife, part-time professional trying to fit it all in...

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So poetic..."

    The reason why this book is so good is because the writing is so descriptive and poetic. You can feel what the characters feel, and the imagery that develops in your mind, as you hear the words, places you right there where the characters are. If this is a translated version, i can't imagine how much more wonderful the original version would be.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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