“The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philip Sendker
This is one of those books that after finishing it, I just had to sit back and let it soak in for a bit. It was one of those books that I couldn’t put down and read veraciously but at the same time tried to slow down just so it wouldn’t end.
Translated from German, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a beautiful love story, transcending time and distance. It is a superbly written story. The descriptions bring everything to life and the characters are so vivid. I had trouble putting down this book; I needed to know what would happen to Tin Win and Mi Mi next. It isn’t always the most fast-paced but it driven at the perfect speed for what one would expect. Just wonderful. I am so glad I had the chance to experience this love story. I look forward to the further books by Sendker, if they are even translated into English (or I need to brush up on my German).
“While the love story at the core of this novel is so beautiful, the writing itself is uneven. While some pages compel with lyrical prose, others are overwritten and at times overly sentimental. Maybe this novel loses some of its power in its translation, but the story seems to go on for at least 100 pages more than necessary, and the writing itself has so much potential that could have brought forth with another draft. Still, my rating is a three for the beauty of the story and the passages that do sing with poetic possibility.”dawnb wrote this review Friday, April 19, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This a great book and although I did not want to end . . . I could not put it down. Well written with fully developed characters treat yourself.”Kathe Dimeo Coleman wrote this review Tuesday, April 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A sweet story of true love. I'm not sure of Tin Win's cause of death....was it heart failure or did he take his own life so he wouldn't be without his true love, MiMi?”bmayer wrote this review Sunday, April 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Great story. Could not put it down”Swanem wrote this review Sunday, April 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The book was OK, but for some reason I was disappointed - it was well written, but the time frame of the characters didn't seem to mesh for me. ”Bonnie W wrote this review Wednesday, April 10, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“For April book club - at Jean's house - which I missed because I was in FL”sherry t wrote this review 2 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“What a beautifully told story. ”erikaleigh wrote this review Friday, March 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A prominent Wall-street lawyer disappears shortly after his youngest daughter graduates from law school. Ostensibly headed for a business appointment in Boston, he leaves his New York City apartment never to be heard from again. Four years later his daughter, Julia, discovers a few personal papers, including a faded letter addressed to a woman in a small village in Burma, her father’s birthplace. First puzzled and then infuriated by her mother’s seeming indifference, Julia leaves her job, puts her life on hold, and heads to Burma to find her father. What she finds is a story of a love that endured decades of separation.
I really wanted to love this book, and feel so disappointed, although I did like it. The central love story is tender, touching and endearing. The story of Tin Win and Mi Mi and how they find one another and overcome each other’s handicaps to be fully realized individuals is just so life-affirming and uplifting.
However, it’s nested within a story of a daughter’s search for her father, and it becomes obvious that she knew little or nothing about him. Her mother is barely mentioned and comes off as an unfeeling shrew. We learn little about Julia, herself, other than that she is determined to find her father and learn his story. I never felt any connection to Julia. Although I did understand her perplexed response to Burmese culture; it was the antithesis of the hard-driving, career-minded, success-seeking American way of life she knew.
I wondered whether part of the issue might be the translation, but I doubt that’s it. I had the opportunity to meet the author during his very limited book tour. He commented that when he read the translation he was surprised at some of the passages – they seemed so much better than what he remembered writing in his native German. More likely, the disconnect has to do with a difference in style. Whatever the reason, for me the book just fell short of expectations. I liked it, I didn’t love it.
“What a lovely and captivating story of an American woman whose father suddenly vanishes after she graduates from law school - 4 years later a love letter written by him to a woman in Burma is uncovered which prompts her to go to Burma to seek her father, and ultimately, learns about his hidden and mysterious past. Beautiful and epic tale.”beth wrote this review Friday, March 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No