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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

Romantic Fiction   Debuts of the Month   Literary Fiction   Relationship Stories   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   
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One of our Books of the Year 2013.

A beautifully written, inspiring love story and fairy tale. Originally written in German it has had huge international success and is now being published in the UK. Julia Winn’s father disappears without a trace, the only clue to his whereabouts is a love letter written to a woman in Burma. The story, set in present-day New York and 1950s Burma, is what she discovers about her father and herself.

March 2013 Debut of the Month.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Art of Hearing Heartbeats a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'a magical story of love, loss, superstition, perseverance and family obligation...I loved this novel and recommend it wholeheartedly' Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Jan-Philipp Sendker you might also like to read books by Corban Addison.

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The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker

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 change her life once more.


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. You can read their reviews below.

Joan Hill - 'a hauntingly beautiful story set mainly in Burma...Slowly an unforgettable story unfolds – a magical story of love, loss, superstition, perseverance and family obligation...I loved this novel and recommend it wholeheartedly.' Click here to read the full review.

Claudia Stach - 'The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is one of the most moving novels I have ever read, allowing me to live in a distant world and long-gone time...a very special story about love, how love itself can change and also changes people with an unusual setting.' Click here to read the full review.

Richard Hamlin - 'The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a beautifully written novel that leaves the reader moved and enriched...Sendker immerses the reader into Burmese life; magnifying sights, smells and particularly sounds...to create a landscape and way of life that seems almost tangible.' Click here to read the full review.

Linda Hill - 'The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is an absolute joy to read on so many levels and I cannot recommend it highly enough.' Click here to read the full review.

Stephanie Harding - 'A beautiful , atmospheric , touching read that I thoroughly enjoyed and made me feel that maybe we, in the West, have really got our priorities very much out of kilter.' Click here to read the full review.

Tracey Poulter - 'The story has echoes of ancient folk stories containing some fantastical elements and, although set in modern day, evokes the ancient mysticism of the East. The book appears effortless and is very gentle on the reader yet evokes very powerfully the essence of true love which exists outside the physical world. A haunting read.' Click here to read the full review.

Catherine Larner - 'The narrative is astonishing...I was in tears for much of my reading of this book, yet it is a beautiful and understated story, so sensitively and charmingly written that I would read it again, and will recommend it to all my friends.' Click here to read the full review.

Victoria Halliday - 'There were some terrific aspects of this novel. I'm a sucker for parallel stories and really enjoyed the contrast between Julia's memories of her father as a successful lawyer in the US and the story U-Ba tells of Tin Win's childhood in Burma.' Click here to read the full review.

Barbara Goldie - 'It is a story of family, love and loss and is an emotional ride of tragedy and love. I really recommend this book, a must read for 2013.' Click here to read the full review.

Sallyann Spittle - 'What a wonderful, refreshing book!...The story of Tin Win and his childhood leading into manhood was sincere, heartfelt and truly inspirational.' Click here to read the full review.

Richard Hamlin - 'The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a beautifully written novel that leaves the reader moved and enriched... Effortlessly told and free from clichés and formulaic plots, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is an uplifting tale that will stay long in the memory of the reader.' Click here to read the full review.

Michelle Gray - 'I initially approached this book with some trepidation as it is not my usual genre of book (having no dragons, wizards or explosions) however from the first page I was completely involved in the story.' Click here to read the full review.

Nikki Clark - 'I found this book very difficult to put down...the incredibly evocative and colourful writing stirred my imagination.' Click here to read the full review.

Magda North - 'A magical literary love story...Vintage Burma forms a perfect backdrop to their relationship...such a vivid and powerful romance.' Click here to read the full review.

Carol Attridge - 'This is such a touching and well written book. Its a love story that's not at all mushy and looks instead to the depths of love' Click here to read the full review.

Mrs C A Tuckett - 'A touching story of love and devotion.' Click here to read the full review.

Sylvia Willingale - 'I found this book interesting and well-written...This explains that unconditional love will overcome many of the difficulties one faces in life, not to judge but to accept and look for the best in everyone.' Click here to read the full review.

Sarah Tilley - 'Beautifully written and the opening pages had me spellbound until the end...the happiness seems to jump off the page and you are also submerged in the zen like feeling of warmth and contentment.' Click here to read the full review.

Sharon Butler - 'I was hooked from the first page and read through almost the first part of the book in one evening. I love the unusual way the writer continually jumps from the present day to the story of years ago.' Click here to read the full review.

Caroline Matthews - 'I’m afraid I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I hoped I would...I liked Julia as a character and found her interesting and engaging. I also liked the ending.' Click here to read the full review.

About the Author

Jan-Philipp Sendker

Jan-Philipp Sendker lives in Berlin with his family. He was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, his first novel, was an international bestseller, and he’s the author of A Well- Tempered Heart, Whispering Shadows and its sequel Dragon Games. He is currently at work on the third novel set in Hong Kong.

Click here to read a Q&A with this author.

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Book Info

Publication date

18th February 2013


Jan-Philipp Sendker

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Polygon An Imprint of Birlinn Limited an imprint of Birlinn General


336 pages


Romantic Fiction
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
Relationship Stories
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Thriller / suspense



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