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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.
©2002 Karl Blessing Verlag. Translation 2006 by Kevin Wiliarty (P)2012 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

“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

By Monica on 06-04-13

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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56 of 60 people found this review helpful

By SamanthaG on 09-08-13

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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39 of 42 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Amanda on 04-13-13

An endearing and intriguing story.

I enjoyed this story. An endearing and intriguing tale of love and devotion over time. My book club reviewed the book and there was a real mix of opinion...some found it a bit cliched and couldn't complete it while others absolutely loved it.

The American accent of the reader jarred a little for me but I managed to finish the story so can't have been that bad on reflection!

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

By Sam on 05-31-15


A fascinating story, very well told. I could not stop listening to it and feeling part of it. Brilliant. A sentence towards the end sums up the essence of the story: "Not all truths are explicable....and not all explicable things are true."

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Elizabeth on 05-25-17

Enchanting and refreshingly different

I am easily bored and struggle through the first couple of chapters of most books. But I loved this one: the characters were really interesting and I enjoyed the insight into a different culture. Some very insightful philosophical issues.ts a good read.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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