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)
I liked the basic story of 2 handicapped people finding each other, however this book had major disappointments for me:
. even though most of the book is set in Burma, there's really not much about Burma;
. the writing is often predictable;
. the 'love story' includes dumping another woman;
. a lot reads like a romance novel; and finally....
. it's way too MUSHY for me!
That said, you may like it....I have friends who adored it!
This book called to mind another popular romantic novel - The Bridges of Madison County. Both of them are over the top as far as unbelievable romanticism is concerned, with the main characters in both taking no responsibility for the betrayal of commitments in their lives. This book never explores why in the world Tin Win - committed as he was to MiMi - married an American woman and fathered 2 children, then abandoned them all. I was not at all moved by Tin Win and MiMi's love story - a lot of teen angst and incredibly repetitive. How many times was it necessary to narrate Tin Win's touching MiMi's body and the ecstasy that engendered in both of them. We know, we know...they're in love. A lot of this book strains belief - is hearing heartbeats (without a stethoscope) really possible??? And in the end, the fact that they, primarily MiMi, were so loved by the locals that on the 15th of EVERY month the townspeople form a procession to their home, bearing offerings, flowers, candles, etc. Oh, and what about the blatant plagiarism of John Denver's song, Shanghai Breezes (The moon and the stars are the same ones you see, etc.)
I did find parts of the book compelling - especially Julia's story - I wish that had been a bigger part of the book. I had to listen until the end just to see what happened. Not a boring book for the most part, but overly romantic and melodramatic.
I really found myself invested in the characters.
It starts out in the present and takes you back to the love story and then brings it back to the present. I really wanted to know how it could have started in Burma and ended in New York.
Greedy, voracious reader since age five. After a number of eye injuries & surgeries, reading is hard. So now, I listen.
I AM listening to it a second time, just to lose myself in the gorgeous descriptions of country, customs, and love that is transcendent, read in the golden honeyed tones of Cassandra Campbell. Beautiful narration, and a fantastically beautiful story.
The scenery, the love, the sounds that were magnified during the telling of the story.
I loved the main characters from the beginning of the story thru the very end. I did not want the story to end.
Cassandra Campbell's performance was of a quality that made it very easy and pleasurable to listen to.
It made me cry and at the same time I felt joy.
This was an incredible listen. The narrator was perfect on all the voices. Loved the story and all the subtle nuances. There is really no way to explain how special this book is!
I loved Ms.Campbell's voice, the narrator, she was so gentle and smooth. The narrative kept bringing new surprises in the story that kept me engaged, for example: the story not only takes place in the rustic farmlands in Burma but also in the sophisticated life of a manhattan lawyer. I never thought twice about how it would feel to be blind - too foreign to my life experience but this book raised my sensitivity and awareness to these senses which I took so much for granted. This book is an extraordinary love story that surpasses all understanding, a love story that goes against all odds of tremendous strength and takes us back to our basic feelings and instincts as human beings.
Tin Ming was my favorite character. Why? because of his courageous spirit, wisdom and his transparent soul of a child.
I never heard Cassandra Campbell's and I very much liked this first experience.
No other way, the title is PERFECT!
The mystery in the story makes this a fun book to listen too. It has an unexpected twist.
The characters of this book are all so well developed. And each one on their own journey.
This is a wondeful story of enduring love that I would highly recommend. There is nothing to which it easily compares. I loved it so much I had to buy a physical copy of the book.
I enjoy literary fiction with character depth and psychological exploration. I am in my 50s, work in psychology, and love the outdoors.
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.
"An endearing and intriguing story."
I enjoyed this story. An endearing and intriguing tale of love and devotion over time. My book club reviewed the book and there was a real mix of opinion...some found it a bit cliched and couldn't complete it while others absolutely loved it.
The American accent of the reader jarred a little for me but I managed to finish the story so can't have been that bad on reflection!
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