The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

by Jan-Philipp Sendker
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats
by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Julia is bewildered when her father, a New York lawyer disappears. There is no hint of what might have happened to him until an old love letter is discovered. Determined to solve the mystery, Julia decides to travel to Burma to trace a woman that neither she nor her mother knew existed.

Once there, Julia meets an old, wise man who says he can take her to her father, but first he tells her a story of a man she realises she never knew.

The narrative is astonishing. It moves from modern day New York to village life in Burma in the 1950s. It tells the story of terrible loss, sadness and suffering, but also the ability to overcome, to love, to believe and to hope. There is a real sense of authenticity in its presentation of a culture and outlook which is full of wisdom about life, relationship and community.

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.

This review appears on LoveReading.co.uk.
 

Review date: March 2013