Amazon Best Books of the Month, February 2012: I’ll admit that when I first read the title of Jan-Philipp Sendker’s novel, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, I winced (just a little). Something about it gave off a whiff of well-aged Stilton, but this love story is no stinky cheese. In it, a respected New York City attorney vanishes, supposedly en route to a business trip, leaving an embittered wife and dumbfounded daughter behind. No, I’m not getting my genres mixed-up. While there’s a mystery–one the daughter, Julia, travels to Burma to unravel–what she uncovers there is anything but sinister. Julia is a cynical sleuth, and your suspension of disbelief will be tested, too, but as this sweeping romance unfolds, you’ll gladly fall for it.
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 reader’s belief in the power of love to move mountains.