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.
“Absolute magic…Like a spell, it haunts. Like love, it’s going to endure.” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times best-selling author)
This is a beautiful story. It was well written using vivid images. An amazing story of true and deeply felt love! It's lovely how the characters never doubted the love, but always knew it existed. It gives the reader an incredible image of love.
I loved the premise of this book, two handicapped young people finding love and a bond through their physical and emotional support of each other but there were some things with the book that I found challenging: 1) it goes into tedious length about Tin Win's life before he meets MiMi which could've been edited to make the book more enjoyable (I kept saying to myself "okay, I get it, get on with the story"); 2) the book never explains why (spoiler alert), when Tin Win clearly is desperately in love with Mimi; why, once he regains his sight, doesn't he return to her, yet goes to America and marries another woman, one he clearly doesn't love. 3) The story from Julia's perspective is quite engaging, but the book doesn't really expand on this character, which would've been much more interesting. 4) Mimi is described as having healing gifts, yet that isn't really expanded on either. All in all, the book is entertaining, albeit a little long, but it could've been so much more if more thought had been put into the characters and the editing.
Loves to cook, loves to eat!
This is a great story stay with it until the end! Dont miss out! Loved the ending.
Lyrically read, sensitively if indulgently written fairy tale.
This is a treatise on what a lonely woman wishes love could be. Unaware of male sexuality and idealized to the point of absurdity. When, at the end, it collapsed into pure fantasy, I breathed a sigh of relief - oven the author was not taking this shit seriously.
Approximately 9.5 hours of listening, read by Cassandra Campbell. This story was German journalist Philipp Sendker’s first novel, originally published in German in 2002, subsequently translated for US and UK publication. The audiobook came out a good ten years later. I was initially concerned that the German-English translation would make the story awkward … not so, smoothly done.
A New Yorker travels to Burma to trace the whereabouts of her father, a man who abandoned her, her siblings, and her mother following a 35 year marriage. A good foundation! At this point, in my opinion, there are some problems in the writing/editing of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. After traveling to a remote little town, the tale of her father is told to her by a man who meets her in a dingy, fly-infested café. How he comes to be there, recognize her, know all about her, why she would go into this grungy place, none of this is conveyed by the author. Within a couple of meetings, she’s in his house, sleeping on his couch, and he continues to tell her the tale. Really? Come on, this is a worldly, well traveled, New Yorker!! Okie-doke. Reading on….
Continuation of the story involves the girl listening to a story about her father’s roots, physical limitations, dreams, desires, etc., in addition to the physical limitations, dreams, desires, etc., of the woman he has loved all of his life … a woman not her mother. The fundamentals of this being conveyed by a third party makes it a bit difficult to comprehend. How would her story teller know some of this stuff? Even after the final reveal, which takes place in the last few minutes of the story, he couldn’t … therein is another problem in the writing of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.
Maybe the fairy-tale aspect of this story makes plot-holes acceptable. Dunno. I can understand how this story has the reviews that it does, all over the board, i.e., you like fairy-tales or you don’t. The prose is even poetic in places. Personally, I wish there had been more detail regarding motivation for abandonment. Thirty-five years? He hurt her horribly, and if he left his ‘true-love’ for over fifty years, he hurt her horribly, too. But … he’s supposed to be a sympathetic character? Sounds like a wimpy dude to me, and the story doesn’t tell me he is the selfish ass his behavior portends. Personally, I didn’t get the ‘love’ aspect of this story at all, even though a deep life-long love was, by the definition of some, well conveyed. To me, the impression was that selfish entitlement, regardless of who you may hurt, can be interpreted as ‘love'.
Regarding narration, Cassandra Campbell does an okay job. A little languid for my taste; bumped it up to 1.5 speed.
Basically, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a bit far-fetched and bizarre for me. I mean, his unique hearing is not a main element of the story … but, he can hear the heartbeat of an earthworm. Um. Gotcha. And, this is relevant how?
You may like it, though!
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