Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp…

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (edition 2012)

by Jan-Philipp Sendker

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5254819,102 (4.02)50
Title:The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Authors:Jan-Philipp Sendker
Info:Other Press (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 336 pages

Work details

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker



Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 50 mentions

English (44)  German (2)  Italian (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Telling two stories at once, this gentle novel has mystical overtones and contains the wisdom of the Buddhist monks who play a role in Tin Win's life. At the heart of it, this is both a delicate romance and a tale of poignant family love.

The main story is the romance between Mi Mi and Tin Win. Two ordinary, but extraordinary, souls meet in a rural Burmese village, and stay connected despite any physical distance between them. Tin Win's American daughter Julia, searching for her father Tin Win, who was missing in more ways than one, learns from a stranger the reasons behind her father's enigmatic and restrained lifestyle, despite his success in his adopted country, America.

Translated from German by Kevin Wiliarty, Sendker's beautiful novel does reflect the "lost in translation" syndrome - at times there was too Western a tone to the central characters' dialogue, but overall this novel has a depth and strength that carries a reader along like a cloud of smoke wafting in a breeze.

With vivid descriptions of a simple lifestyle in an exotic country, there is much to take away from this beautiful novel, which essentially explores the nature of love, life and death. ( )
  JudyCroome | Mar 31, 2014 |
This book would have to rank as one of my all-time favorites. This book led me to a country that I knew nothing about--Burma. Through this work of fiction, I saw another culture, another religion, and it peaked my interest so that I did outside research to learn of the geography and history of Burma.

The story line is a tender insight Into the lives of two handicapped people, and a love story that spans two continents over a period of fifty years. Tears flowed at the end of this book, and I could not wait to rush out and get the sequel. Jan-Philipp Sendker has a way of telling a story that leads the reader to draw his own conclusions. He tears at the heart in a way that the reader longs to know these characters better...to walk along with them on their journey. ( )
  nmaners | Mar 30, 2014 |
When Julia's father leaves for a business trip and didn't return, her mother seems unconcerned. But when she finds an unfinished letter to a woman named Mi Mi and questions her mother, she discovers her father, originally from Burma, may have left behind an old love. Determined to find what happened to her father and if he left them for another family in Burma, Julia makes her way to the other side of the world, and discovers not only a culture but a philosophy of life she is unprepared for.

She meets an elderly man who seems to know a fair bit about her, even though she's never met him before and for some reason, she feels safe with him. He tells her the story of Tin Win, the blind boy in the village of Kalaw, and Mi Mi, the crippled girl. But she can't reconcile Tin Win with her father. After all, he wasn't a blind uneducated person but a respected and successful New York lawyer.

Gradually as the story takes shape, Julia not only learns of her father's beginnings but understands him better, realizing that just because he had to leave them, it was not because he loved them less.
  cameling | Feb 8, 2014 |
A beautiful love story.
The story is so beautifully written, I needed tissues a couple of times. ( )
  edachille | Jan 9, 2014 |
Overall, a great book and a great read. There were a few issues, but overall I really enjoyed it. I typically do not read books that are touted as "poignant" and "inspirational" ... least of all "love story." Even less, a book where someone is discovering the hidden life of someone they love, which apparently involves infidelity, and which involves "the power of love to move mountains." brrp. sorry just threw up in my mouth a little.

Yeah. so, not my kind of book. But it's a book group book, so I give it my full attention and an open mind. And it was GOOD. From the beginning. It drew me in and kept me there. It's a fast read and an engaging plot.

Let me describe it a little:
Meet privileged family, in big city in America, at sudden disappearance of the father (Tin Win) of the family. Understand that the family knows nothing of the father's first 20 years of his life and that it seems to be some kind of grand mystery. Know that the father is a very successful lawyer who hails from some faraway foreign land. And then travel with the early-20s daughter (Julia), a newly minted lawyer herself, to Burma to discovery "the truth" of her father.

Enter strange old man (U Ba) who seems to know every thought, emotion, and intimate part of Tin Win's life and the life of the woman he apparently loved from his mid-teens until approximately 20. And discover Burma and the Burmese, blindness and discovery, and struggle and heartache with Julia as she begins to learn "the truth" about her father.

Sendker made Burma come alive, made the Burmese insistence on belief in astrology interesting, and made the reader desire to learn the art of hearing heartbeats.

It was so interesting! It was so well paced and the characters were so well drawn! I loved the varying perspectives we managed to get. I loved the scenery and the thoughts. I loved the peripheral characters. I even liked MiMi and Tin Win and wanted to believe in their love.

So what didn't I like? HUGE SPOILERS HEREIN: I did not like that U Ba not only knew the intimate (and I mean intimate) details of Tin Win and MiMi's lives, but that the shared them with Tin Win's daughter?! That was probably my biggest beef. But since we're on spoiler-alert here anyway, I also didn't like (really didn't like!) that somehow Julia was just hunky-dory with the fact that her father supposedly had this undying amazing love for Mi Mi, somehow also loved her mother and his family, and that that was all just ok. I didn't like that Tin Win was selfish enough to find a new family in America, and selfish enough to hold so ardently onto his feelings for Mi Mi. And I didn't like that he was selfish enough to "choose" to die and leave his son, his daughter, and even his wife without any note, explanation, or apology. His only "note" was the story he told his other son, and that was supposed to be sufficient. And then they were celebrated?! I get that Julia was trying to recognize cultural differences and allow for more than 1 kind of love... but what he did to both of his sons and his daughter, not even paying any attention to the two women, I don't think that's loving. It's self-focused.

But aside from not liking the PERSON all that much, and/or his decisions, I liked the STORY, and I thought it was well told. Very well told.

And I definitely recommend the book!
FOUR of five stars.

This and other reviews can be found at my blog ( )
  avanders | Jan 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
"The heart of this sentimental novel is the romance between the teenagers Tin Win and Mi Mi in pre-World War II Burma. Recommended for readers who enjoy sweetly tragic romances."
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Pamela Mann (Nov 1, 2011)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jan-Philipp Sendkerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wiliarty, KevinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Has the (non-series) sequel

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
First words
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
170 wanted
6 pay6 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.02)
1 3
2 7
2.5 3
3 32
3.5 14
4 59
4.5 21
5 59

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 89,574,120 books! | Top bar: Always visible