The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker Reviewed by Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge

the art of hearing heartbeatsThe Art of Hearing Hearbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker; translated from the German by Kevin Wiliarty; Other Books/Random House, 2006. 325 pages; $15.95 (paperback); reading level: adult.

Responding to a just-discovered letter, Julia Win, a hard-nosed young New York City attorney, travels to Kalaw, Burma, her missing father’s birth place, to track him down.  The story of the Burmese part of her father’s life – hitherto a mystery – and the reason for his disappearance are revealed by U Ba, a man who finds Julia in a teahouse in Kalaw just after her arrival there.  There is a magical element to the Burmese part of the tale (Julia learns that her father was blind early in life and that he had an almost other-worldly love for a crippled young woman) that doesn’t fit well with the New York reality which functions as the novel’s frame.  Julia’s father’s hidden past is revealed, in part, through letters, which are intercepted and retrieved in contrived ways, the backstories of the large cast of minor characters muddy the narrative flow, and while the author tries to explore such themes as fear and the power of selfless love to overcome it, I felt emotionally manipulated rather than enlightened or even engaged.

Connie Nordhielm Wooldridge, Author

Connie Nordhielm WooldridgeBiography | View

Speaker / Presenter

Connie is an experienced speaker and presenter who enjoys sharing her passion for writing and her experience as a writer with readers and writers of all ages. She has presented to students, community, civic and professional organizations, writing groups, library audiences, and seniors – wherever book lovers gather!
>> More Information About Connie Speaking and Presenting