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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp…
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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (original 2002; edition 2012)

by Jan-Philipp Sendker

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1,022848,311 (3.94)83
Member:jfaltz
Title:The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
Authors:Jan-Philipp Sendker
Info:Other Press (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 336 pages
Collections:kindle
Rating:***1/2
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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (2002)

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English (77)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Finnish (1)  All (83)
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)
Sometimes I give 5 stars too easily - not this time. What a powerful story. Written by a German author - first time translated to English. Kudos to both author & translator.

So which sense do you think is most important? What sense would pick up the slack for you if you lost one of your senses (other than your common sense)? Every wonder why some in the deaf community say they don't want to hear? Or the blind don't want their vision restored?

Sendker wrote a lovely, tender story of two people who were extraordinary. Yes, its fiction - but I felt like I lived the story as I was reading. I loved it so much, I delayed reading the last 50 pages or so.

I highly recommend this book and would gladly read anything else Herr Sendker sends our way. ( )
  TerryLewis | Jun 12, 2017 |
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is the most beautiful love story I have ever read. To quote from the first chapter, "I am not referring to those outbursts of passion that drive us to do and say things we will later regret, that delude us into thinking we cannot live without a certain person, that set us quivering with anxiety at the mere possibility we might ever lose that person--a feeling that impoverishes rather than enriches us because we long to possess what we cannot, to hold on to what we cannot." This quote sets the stage for a rare unconditional love that begins between two disabled Burmese children.

The author nearly convinces us that blindness is an asset since the true essence of things are invisible to the eyes. The boy begins to hear the heartbeats of the smallest creatures and comes to understand people's health and intentions and veracity through their heartbeats.

He carries the young girl who cannot walk and who will become his lover on his back because she has no use of her legs. She acts as his directional signals and helps him turn towards life by describing everyday events. He helps her discover the unseen life by describing everything he hears down to insects' heartbeats.

Intervening events occur that separate the two temporally and geographically. But the beautiful part of the story is the love the two have for each other is never jealous or clutching or unforgiving. It is pure and untouched by time, other people, anxiety, yearning or geography. The understanding that this kind of love exists is inspiring. This was a truly beautiful book even though the lovers come to recognize suffering and happiness are inextricably intertwined. ( )
  ErinDenver | Jun 12, 2017 |
Read this on the recommendation of a friend. Too much like a Hallmark card for my taste. Cartoon-like characters and over-sentimental. To each her own. ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
I guess this “international best seller” was just not to my taste. While the premise was intriguing, as was the exotic Burmese setting, the author never went deep enough to engage me.
One day Julia Win’s father leaves his wife and grown children and disappears out of his life as a prominent Manhattan attorney. The authorities lose his trail in Bangkok. A new lawyer herself, after a few years, Julia determines to find him and is drawn to a remote village in Burma named Kalaw, based on the only clue she has, an unmailed love-letter addressed to a villager named Mi Mi. With more than a little trepidation, Julia travels there to find out who Mi Mi is and whether she can tell her where her father has gone.
Before even settling in, she’s approached by an “old man” who seems to know who she is and who her father is. “You must be asking yourself how on earth I know your name when we have never met before, and this is your first visit to our country.” It seems she’s followed the correct path, all right, but the man, whose name is U Ba, won’t reveal more about her father’s whereabouts until she listens to his story, which makes up most of the rest of the book.
That set-up strongly reminds me of the beginning of Yann Martel’s The Life of Pi.
Just as Martel’s narrator meets an elderly man who says his story will “make you believe in God,” U Ba at the outset asks Julia, “Do you believe in love?” It’s clear that Sendker’s tale is intended to make sure that she—and the reader—do.
If you’re looking for a sweet read, one that skates across the surface of relationships and emotions, perhaps something for the beach this summer, ( )
  Vicki_Weisfeld | Apr 19, 2017 |
I found this story to be magical in the sense that this story was not about the western sensibility of logic, but about a more magical, intuitive, even superstitious way of seeing the world. The love between Tin Win and Mi Mi is tragic in many ways but even more mystical in others - that they could together become something more complete because of their handicaps was beautiful. ( )
  tjsjohanna | Feb 21, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 77 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (2 possible)

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

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For Anna, Florentine, and Jonathon
And in memory of Vivian Wong (1969-2000)
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The old man's eyes struck me first.
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Book description
When Julia Win's father disappears one morning without a trace, the day after her graduation from law school, her family is left unsettled and confused. It's not until a few years later that her mother finds a piece of the puzzle - an unmailed love letter to a Burmese woman named Mi Mi.

Intent on solving the mystery and coming to terms with her father's past, Julia puts her career and her life on hold to travel to the village where Mi Mi once lived. Her journey takes her to the small mountain village of Kalaw where she is approached by a man who claims to know her father, and who seems to have an uncanny knowledge of Julia herself. Intrigued, she returns to meet him every afternoon and listen to his incredible tales of her father's youth - of his childhood blindness, his education at a monastery, and, most of all, about his passionate relationship with a local girl.

At first Julia is unwilling to believe that the romantic boy in this poignant story has anything to do with her reticent father, but soon she can no longer withstand the almost mystical invoking of mysterious past events, entwined as they are with the influence of the stars and with a love larger than life.

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a magical and uplifting tale of hardship and resilience, and the unyielding power of love to move mountains.
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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)

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