The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

  • by Jan-Philipp Sendker
  • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell
  • 9 hrs and 27 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 listener’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.
Jan-Philipp Sendker, born in Hamburg in 1960, was 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. He lives in Berlin with his family.

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What the Critics Say

“Absolute magic…Like a spell, it haunts. Like love, it’s going to endure.” (Caroline Leavitt, New York Times best-selling author)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Basic Story Interesting, But...

I liked the basic story of 2 handicapped people finding each other, however this book had major disappointments for me:

. even though most of the book is set in Burma, there's really not much about Burma;
. the writing is often predictable;
. the 'love story' includes dumping another woman;
. a lot reads like a romance novel; and finally....
. it's way too MUSHY for me!

That said, you may like it....I have friends who adored it!
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- Monica

Repetitive and melodramatic

This book called to mind another popular romantic novel - The Bridges of Madison County. Both of them are over the top as far as unbelievable romanticism is concerned, with the main characters in both taking no responsibility for the betrayal of commitments in their lives. This book never explores why in the world Tin Win - committed as he was to MiMi - married an American woman and fathered 2 children, then abandoned them all. I was not at all moved by Tin Win and MiMi's love story - a lot of teen angst and incredibly repetitive. How many times was it necessary to narrate Tin Win's touching MiMi's body and the ecstasy that engendered in both of them. We know, we know...they're in love. A lot of this book strains belief - is hearing heartbeats (without a stethoscope) really possible??? And in the end, the fact that they, primarily MiMi, were so loved by the locals that on the 15th of EVERY month the townspeople form a procession to their home, bearing offerings, flowers, candles, etc. Oh, and what about the blatant plagiarism of John Denver's song, Shanghai Breezes (The moon and the stars are the same ones you see, etc.)

I did find parts of the book compelling - especially Julia's story - I wish that had been a bigger part of the book. I had to listen until the end just to see what happened. Not a boring book for the most part, but overly romantic and melodramatic.
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- SamanthaG "SamanthaG"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-31-2012
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.