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Sunday Scoop

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

By Jan-Philipp Sendker


When I was at the library a couple of weeks ago, I ran into Jan-Philip Sendker’s latest novel. I decided it sounded interesting. Since the new book was the second in a series, I thought maybe I should read the first book. Having finished both books I think that they can stand alone well, but if you don’t read this one you are missing out!!! This is a great book! It is one of the best that I have read lately!!

This book was originally published in German in 2002. In 2006 the English translation was released. Sometimes translations are awkward. The translator of this book did a wonderful job, it is not evident while reading that it is a translation. It is 325 pages, but it went fast for me. I read it in 2 days!! There are two stories cleverly woven together in this one. This novel was also released with many different covers.

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 reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains ( Goodreads).

This book is mainly a love story between a handicapped girl and a blind young boy. We are shown the special bond that exists between them. The interesting part is how this connects to Julia. Who was Julia’s father? Why did he up and leave his successful law practice and family in New York? Who is Mimi the woman in the airmail letter from Burma? Julia’s quest leads her to Burma and U Ba. Who is U Ba and how does he know about Julia whom he has never met?

I found this book totally engaging and easy to read. The chapters are short and full of action that keeps you involved in the story. I feel that this writer is very talented in his writing style. I wanted to find out what happened and finish it, but I didn’t want it to end at the same time. It has mystery and romance. There is something about this book that reminds me of Khaled Hosseini’s writing which I also love!! I award this book 5 out of 5 stars!! You know it must be good, I don’t give out 5 stars often!!






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