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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp…

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (2002)

by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (87)  German (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  French (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
A young woman travels to Burma in search of her estranged father. His story is reveled to her uniquely through a third party storyteller. Elements of romanticism, fantasy, and mystery swirl around the reader in this enjoyable novel. ( )
  niquetteb | Apr 16, 2019 |
This is the story of Julia who goes to Burma in search of the father that abandoned her and her mother. She has never forgiven him but wanted to know why. She has found a love letter among her father's things, to a woman she has never known. Julia need to know the answer to her father's disappearance from her life, so she heads to the village where the woman supposedly lives.

She meets a man who promises to tell her the story of her father and who knows of the woman, so she agrees to listen if it means she gets her answers. In listening to the story, she uncovers her father's past and a love that spanned a lifetime.

I thought this book was wonderful. I had a hard time putting it down, because I was enjoying listening to the story of Julia's father's childhood and how he met the love of his life. Julia's father was blind as a child for many, many years, and since my own daughter is legally blind, this hit a cord. I enjoyed reading his resilience to his sudden blindness and how he still found friendship, and love. And in the end, we learn who the man is and how he knows the story of Julia's father which ended the book perfectly.

I encourage you to pick up this book and read it. ( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Julia's dad disappeared four years ago.
Her mother recently gave her a box of his belongings and inside was a letter he wrote to a woman in Burma but never mailed.
The letter is decades old, but it's the only clue Julia has to go on. So she goes to Burma, hoping to find out what happened to her dad.

She meets a man that tells her the story of Win (her father) and Mi Mi. The had an incredible love and were torn apart as teenagers.

Most of the book takes place as the story of Win and Mi Mi.

I enjoyed the story but honestly I just did not understand why Win didn't go back sooner. That part of the story made the overall story less enjoyable for me. I know it's the only way to have built up the drama to the end, but it seemed like a bigger reason was needed that could account for these two being kept apart. ( )
  Mishale1 | Dec 29, 2018 |
This is the ultimate love story that begins and ends in Burma. A successful New York lawyer leaves his wife and family and disappears. His daughter is determined to find out why he left them. In so doing, she learns about the other life that her father had before he arrived in New York from Burma.

The story is rather like a fairy tale that goes from bad to good to bad and back again to happy. It is a book that journeys through past and present with a little bit of fantasy to create a heartwarming although unrealistic tale. ( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
“Had I come here to find my father, to understand him, or to try him?” — Jan-Philipp Sendker, “The Art of Hearing Heartbreaks”

Any parent searching for a runaway child might face these three choices. Is simply finding the child enough, or is there an overwhelming need to punish or, in better parents, a wish to understand the reasons for running away in the first place? Jan-Philipp Sendker's novel “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats” finds the same questions facing an adult child searching for a runaway parent.

Julia's mother has no interest in tracking down her missing husband, a successful New York City businessman. But the discovery of an old letter from someone named Mi Mi in Burma (now known as Myanmar) suggests the old man may have returned to his native country. Traveling alone, Julia sets off for Burma to find him.

In the village where her father was born, she meets a strange man named U Ba who seems to know all about her father and about her as well. He promises to take her to her father, but first there is a story to tell.

This story, which takes up most of the novel, tells of a boy named Tin Win who is abandoned by his superstitious mother because he is born on an unlucky day, a self-fulfilling prophecy if there ever was one. He is raised by a neighbor. Having gone blind, the boy compensates by developing his sense of hearing so that he his capable of reading heartbeats the way other people read faces. What's more, he can pick out one particular heartbeat in a crowd of people. (The novelist makes frequent references to heartbeats in all sorts of contexts.)

The heartbeat Tin Win loves best belongs to Mi Mi, a girl with a handicap of her own. She was born with misshapen feet and has never been able to walk. They fall in love and move about the village together, she on his strong back while using her own eyes to guide him. They are separated by a wealthy uncle who, thinking he is doing Tin Win a favor, has the cataracts removed from his eyes, sends him to school and then overseas for his business. Eventually Tin Win winds up in New York, changes his named, marries another woman, all the while longing for the girl of his youth.

Have I told the whole story? Not hardly, for Sendker, a German journalist who spent time in Asia, has some surprises I haven't touched on. Even in translation, the beauty of his writing comes through, and even if the pace of the narrative is a bit slow, most readers won't mind. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jun 11, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (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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