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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

(The Art of Hearing Heartbeats #1)

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really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  61,680 ratings  ·  6,371 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 325 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Other Press (first published 2002)
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really liked it 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  61,680 ratings  ·  6,371 reviews


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Kate
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was ok
God, this could have been SO good! I wish Sendker's writing abilities matched his imagination, because this would have been an awesome book. As it was, it was okay. There is a beautiful love story in the center of the book, but it comes to an extremely trite conclusion. Throughout the novel, he relies on some extremely hackneyed devices that, with just a little effort, could have melted away into masterful writing. First device: relying on long (and I mean REALLY loonnnggg) monologue soliloquy t ...more
Liz Crowe
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I think I've mentioned that for me "reading" has become a luxury the likes of which I sometimes even avoid. Not sure why really, except maybe anger at myself for spending so much time on bad books--badly written, lazily edited, simply or more likely horrifically plotted--I've gotten to where I just don't want to bother anymore simply not to run the risk of feeling like it was time wasted.

As a writer myself, I see the puppet strings, the skeletal framework, and at times feel the sweat and tears t
...more
Walker Doermann
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
May 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
As I was reading this book I was fully engaged and enjoying the story, the Burmese setting, the fairy tale quality to the narration....but as soon as I finished and started to reflect on it, the whole thing imploded like a house of cards. As much as I really wanted to like this book, it hit several of my hot buttons:

I have a real problem with books that are about unrealistic love - the "our love is better/stronger/more meaningful than anyone else's love" kind of love. If Tin Win was so in love w
...more
Nicole R
I have been a little stingy with awarding "5 stars" this year, and this book is an example of why. I want my full "5 stars" to portray to others I read something exquisitely written, wholly engaging, and so profoundly touching. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats was all of those adjectives....and so much more.

Julia is in her late 20's and living in New York, has always had a loving father even if his and her mother's marriage was not perfect, and she believes her fast-paced life in the field of law i
...more
Mimi
Aug 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book is a perfect example of what I consider "book club bait." A compelling blurb, major publisher's backing, glowing reviews, eloquent prose, family drama, journey of self-discovery, troubled self-sacrificing protagonist who just wants to do "the right thing."

Book clubs fall for these things all the time. While I'd like to think my book club is above the baiting (because we're pretty good at weeding them out), once in a while a book like this one comes along and catches us off guard for wh
...more
Genia Lukin
Apr 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: historical
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natalie
Jan 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first review I have written and whilst I could give a plot summary, I feel no need as many others have done a brilliant job of this. I write factual and complex assessments as a part of my job, so feel no desire to analyze this book. I read primarily for enjoyment and relaxation and occasionally enjoy a challenging read. I chose this novel hoping that it would be perfect holiday read, something to savour and delight in, and I was not dissapointed. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats was an ...more
Trish
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, buddhism, audio, asia
The heart of this novel is set in Burma, pre-WWII. The author Sendker was correspondent in America and Asia for Stern, the weekly German news magazine, for some years. This is his first novel. Sendker was successful and very clever in his choice of subject. In making the setting a mountain province of Burma, a country not much opened to the outside and stuck in a pre-WWII lifestyle, things had not changed significantly since the 1950s and if they had, very few English-speaking eyewitnesses would ...more
Julie
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was ok
Essentially a fairy tale so sweet that at times I had to lick the syrup from my fingertips before turning the page. Tin Win and Mi Mi were beautifully rendered, though I felt their story was hampered by the clumsy structure of the book. Julia, the daughter searching for her father, was altogether frustrating as a narrator. The author frequently resorted to long-winded lists of unanswerable questions, such as, "What do we know about our parents, and what do they know about us? And if we don't eve ...more
Alice
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it
There was a day when I would have deeply loved this book. It is a modern-day fairy tale and a solid work of literary art. The story follows Julia, a lawyer from New York looking for clues as to her father's sudden (not accidental) disappearance. When her mother gives her a love letter her father had once written to someone -- someone named Mi Mi -- a long time ago, Julia decides to follow the address all the way to her father's hometown in Myanmar. There she encounters U Ba, who tells her the st ...more
Christina
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Christina by: my nephrologist!
Shelves: favorites
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is unlike any other story I have read. The tale carries the reader through the life of a family man living in New York to his roots in Burma. It is told in such a way that I was perhaps more anxious than the character listening to the story about him to discover how it would unfold!

I could not decide on which 'shelf' to place this book. Yes, it is fiction. But it reads as like a very good non-fiction or biography book would. Better, yet, I personally found gems of i
...more
HBalikov
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
We all come to forks in the road of our life. Julia Win chooses to take the path that may lead to her understand why, with no real hint of the decision, her father one day gets on a plane and never returns.

This book isn't a Roshomon, a look at the same event from the perspective of various individuals. Instead, it is an intertwining of threads: Julia's, her father's, and people she meets or learns about when she arrives in the highland Burmese town of Kalaw.

More than anything else it is about "
...more
Petra
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed listening to this story. The story of Tin Min and Mi Mi is really touching. Their lives unfold in a manner that each would have changed, if they could, yet they stayed true to each other. Their love never faltered and they were bound together always.
A few reviews mention a fairy tale feeling. That's true. I hadn't thought of that while listening; there are sensitive people who do hear and feel differently than most, their senses are tuned differently. I took Tin Min and Mi Mi a
...more
Carol
Feb 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a love story and a fairy tale with Buddhist undertones. I loved this book.
A New York lawyer inexplicably disappears. His daughter Julia, also a lawyer, goes searching for him in Burma based on an old letter he had written which her mom gave her as part of his belongings.
Julia meets a man who has been waiting for her to come, a man who had met her father 4 years ago and has a story to tell her.
The story is about two who met when young, a young boy who was blind and a young girl who was un
...more
Gary  the Bookworm
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
This sweet, sentimental tale of two disabled Burmese villagers who find each other as children and forge a love so overpowering that it sustains them despite lives lived apart has been compared to a fairy tale. For me it was more like the world's longest fortune cookie. It's not that I didn't get caught up in their ardor-I'm a sucker for love stories- but the simplistic dichotomy it sets up between the life-affirming wisdom of the East and the mercantile obsessions of the West left me cold. I ta ...more
Marialyce
I was enamored with the title, not so with its content. The writing was just flat and the characters did not come alive to me at all. Disappointing!
Naomi Carter
Nope. No. Nooo. This was so bad on so many levels. I mean, if you like Paulo Coelho you'll eat this shit up, but ughh. It's so sickly sweet, like eating 17 cubes of sugar and swallowing it down with soda. Had it been written by another author who actually CAN write it might have been pretty OK, but this? Hell. No. It's one of the worst pieces of literature I've ever had the misfortune to come across. It lacks depth, even of it tries really, really hard, and it barely scratches the surface of any ...more
Skip
Apr 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
A heartwarming story about love, death, happiness and the senses with traditional Burmese values and beliefs included. A young lawyer travels to a small village in Burma in search of her father, who abandoned his U.S. family. Once there, she finds an old man, who tells her a story about two children with handicaps, who find soulmates, each completing the other. Author Sendeker does a good job weaving the past and present, but it's cliché in many ways.
Cheri
Apr 06, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I chose this book somewhat by random reviews, with hopes that it would contain a compelling storyline, and/or wonderful prose. In fact, it does, but more often than not the writing is a little too simple, the storyline a little too unbelievable, and the characters make transformations in attitude for no apparent reason. The storyteller portion of the book drew me in, the story of Mi Mi and Tin Win is touching and sweet enough to keep you reading, but between the jagged and abrupt flashbacks take ...more
Diane S ☔
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book, from its cover, the title and the beautiful prose that evoked images and sentiments that were magical. This is a book about a love that lived for over 40 yrs. and a daughter's quest to discover the father that disappeared and the father she never really knew. Most of the book takes place in Burma and is told with a mix of Burmese folk tales and superstitions and in a story related by another to the daughter who comes searching for her father. It is about a boy ...more
Angela M
Sep 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I thought I would like this book more but it just didn't grab me as much as I thought it would . There's some lovely writing but what should have been a beautiful love story for me was a bit shallow. More like 2 & 1/2 stars.
John
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"There is only one force stronger than fear."

This book begins as the story of a daughter (Julia) looking for her father in Burma--the land of his birth. It becomes a potent love story. Love stories--really good love stories--are hard to find, and by extension, must be hard to write. I think that's because in order for a reader to accept the love story, they themselves must, in some measure, fall in love with the characters, or maybe the setting, or circumstance, or writing. At any rate, there ne
...more
Ammar
Feb 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
I love this book and the discussion I am having with my friend about it. Honestly this is one of the best books I read this year.. smooth,,deep, lovely, wonderful expressions. A perfect gift for a loved one. I want to hear heartbeats and this should be made into a movie.
☮Karen
Dec 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
This on audio was read very slowly and methodically, which seemed quite appropriate. The wrong voice, the wrong inflections could have made this too sweet to bear. And I just cannot imagine this being half as beautiful if read in its original German language. Ach, nein!

But the story slowly pulled me in and made me feel an appreciation and awe for the world we live in, for beauty in nature, for young and enduring love. 3.5 stars.
Chrissie
Wonderful lines about love, death, happiness and the senses. Traditional Burmese beliefs described within the story. You must pay careful attention or you will find yourself confused. I was a bit upset at the end when I was not sure who one main character was. (view spoiler) That is why I gave it three rather than four stars. This could have been my fault rather than the book’s.
Holli
Dec 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sometimes I hate giving stars. I waffled between 3 and 4 on this one. Based on the title and a review I read, I wanted this to be one of my favorite books of all time. Unfortunately, the writing didn’t sing for me. But since it is a translation, I am giving Sendker the benefit of the doubt and assuming that it would have if I had been able to read it in German.

The reason I am being so lenient is because I think this book has an important message for us Westerners. In several of the other Goodrea
...more
Alena
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
"Learn to perceive the essence of a thing. Eyes are more likely to hinder you in that regard. They distract us. We live to be dazzled."
In the same spirit, Jan-Philipp Sendker writes THE HEART OF HEARING HEARTBEATS as the slow unveiling of a story. We meet Julia on her quest to find her father, who disappeared without a trace. She’s on her way to a small town in Burma, with a single love letter as her only clue. Stumbling into a café, jet-lagged and heart-broken, she meets a man who begins to tel
...more
Larry H
Feb 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a wonderfully special treasure. A book about the strength of love, and the pull it has, over distance and over years, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats captivated me from the start and didn't let me go, and now I can't stop thinking about it. Don't you love books like that?

Just shortly after her graduation from law school, Julia Win's steadfastly reliable father, a successful attorney in his own right, disappears without a trace. Although he told his family he was meeting a client in B
...more
K
Meh. Just not my kind of book.

The frame of the story is that Julia's father has disappeared, possibly to his hometown in Burma, and that Julia travels there to find him. Julia is then treated to a fairy-tale-like story of her father and his childhood (but everlasting) love, growing up in rural Burma. Her father was blind, his love Mimi was crippled, the two of them were good-looking, saintly, perpetually lovable, and had a passion at 20 that somehow outlasted decades of separation with each of t
...more
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If A Good Complex Ear Issues Is What You Need You Must Follow These! 1 2 Mar 08, 2019 04:55AM  
hearing x3 three times a day. 1 4 Feb 13, 2019 05:15AM  
Eagle Crest Book ...: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker 1 3 Dec 28, 2018 03:02PM  
The author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats would like to speak with your book club! 6 93 Mar 14, 2018 01:35PM  
fiction 1 7 Nov 27, 2016 07:08AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong discription 3 21 Jul 03, 2016 08:22PM  
Love and culture of Burma 3 18 Mar 07, 2016 08:23AM  

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Jan-Philipp Sendker, born in Hamburg in 1960, and, longing to travel the world, became 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, and since then, he has written 3 further novels, including a sequel to "The Art of ...more

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (2 books)
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“I have often wondered what was the source of her beauty, her radiance. It’s not the size of one’s nose, the color of one’s skin, the shape of one’s lips or eyes that make one beautiful or ugly. So what is it? Can you, as a woman, tell me?
I shook my head.
I will tell you: It’s love. Love makes us beautiful. Do you know a single person who loves and is loved, who is loved unconditionally and who, at the same time, is ugly? There’s no need to ponder the question. There is no such person.”
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