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on 26 February 2017
I have just come back from a holiday in Myanmar and have read a number of books set in that country including this one. This tells of a young girl, Julia who goes in search of her father who just disappeared from her life on day. All she has is an address in Myanmar.

She meets a man who calls her by her name in a tea shop and he tells her a story...... she becomes drawn into the story and spends some time with this man who says he would have known her anywhere but she has never met.

It has some beautifully descriptive passages and the characters you rally feel you get to know. It is quite poetic writing at times and a very different love story come mystery come voyage of self discovery for Julia.
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on 16 November 2014
There are some books (very few) which can grip my attention and interest right from the very first few opening lines. This kind of book is able to immediately transport me to the scene of the story and I can instantly see the whole set-up right before my eyes. This book is definitely one of them. I am not sure whether my origin (coming from a neighbouring country of Burma) has anything to do with it, but this book absorbs me right from the very beginning. The description of the surroundings was so detailed, accurate and real. The words used were unpretentious and the dialogues between the characters were cleverly written to enable me to form the personalities of each of them as I progressed with my reading.

I shed some tears and could not put the book down. The end came a little too soon for me (being new to reading on a Kindle App on my Ipad, I did not realise the end was already approaching!!). I was however, consoled by the fact that there is a sequel to this book and I can't wait to get hold of it.

I find it extraordinary that this book is written by someone who is not from the same culture as the main characters of the book. The author has definitely done an excellent job in using merely words to introduce his readers to a less travelled part of the world until recent times. This is certainly one of the best books I have read in a long, long time.
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VINE VOICEon 7 November 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan Philip Sendker for me was a book which I know I will return too for the main reasons it had so much within the pages including a beautiful love story but for me it was a book of wisdom. The main story is based on a New York lawyer disappearing without trace and his daughter who clearly adores him follows him to Burma to seek him out.
Julia on her arrival finds so much more as she is approached by an elderly stranger who states he knew Julia was going to visit Burma, and that he had been waiting for her. As " U Ba" tells her a story you will soon realise why Julia must listen to this old man who claims to know her from birth, and maybe will help her understand who her father really was and maybe then all the questions she has had within her from the moment four years previously when her father walked out of her life without even saying goodbye.

This book for me was so much more than a love story as it helped me understand more about the Buddhist way of life and how they approached life which really added so much depth to the book as it made me take time and think of the statements based on their thoughts and even dreams and how they approached their daily life. The main reason why I loved this book so much was mainly the beautiful use of words from the author, he clearly knew what true love meant and wanted to show how Tin Win(Julia's father) and Mi Mi's love never died even fifty years living apart in such different worlds could not destroy the love they had for each other. There was surprises along the way and as I read about Tin Win and what brought him back to Burma this was one of those books which will continue to be one of the best books I have read and for the one main reason is the author has a talent for storytelling and understanding human emotions.

If you want a book which could be described as a fable with a true meaning of life but also one with a story which will give you an understanding of an old fashioned country while showing you as a reader what loving somebody with everything you own within you as a person this could be the book for you. It is not a book I will have to admit that everyone will love but it is one of those books that you should read at least once in your life.
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on 18 November 2013
Definitely worth reading for the lyrical descriptions. In parts the story is quite captivating showing the impact of colonialism on Burma and the life stories of individuals who rise to challenges in differing ways. The purpose and moral of the novel is not always clear - are we to warm to Buddhism? to eastern philosophy? or alternatively are we to understand the story in terms of Western ideals of love? Within the novel the tale of the prince, the princess and the crocodile and the way it is understood by Julia's parents defines this dichotomy. In some ways the central love story occupied too little of the narrative and the structure of the novel becomes challenged once it is revealed. The double life of Tin Win seemed less rather than more likely after this point. The nature of the love story is almost too sickly to stand for love. The character of Julia - the daughter tracking down her father - evaporates as the story goes on. In order to tie the two parts of his life together there needs to be greater exploration of her reaction and validation through her experience. The end of the novel feels rushed and simplistic. The question of why Tin Win moved away from the love of his life and then away from his new life is ultimately not resolved convincingly. More of a 3.5 stars than a 4.
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on 29 May 2013
Reading many books as I do, I search avidly for something a little different and I found it in this, The Art........ To me, this was not just a love story, (I can find some of the best of that genre by Maggie O'Farrell) but a story of love. The setting in Burma added another dimension for me and I was quite captivated. This was not a book to rush through but to take slowly and savour and imagine the sights of mountains and lakes,tea houses and pagodas and the smell of woodsmoke and markets. Since finishing the book, I have looked up Kalaw and yes the market is there. I could imagine Mi Mi and Tin Win so very clearly!
If you need lots of action in your reading, this book is probably not for you. I loved it and therefore give it five stars.
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on 9 June 2015
Possibly, the best book I've ever read. Still not sure, as Sebastian Faulks has written "Birdsong" and, surpassed it, in my opinion, with "Human Traces" I'll have to read both favourites again, but would probably not be able to decide where to place my vote.

They are,both, inspiring and uplifting factual novels in their positive portrayal of the human qualities of compassion, selflessness and unadulterated love. The negatives can't compete. Some passages made me cry, out of, both, understandable sorrow and joy. They re-awakened,in me, the realisation of what life is about. I have so much to be grateful for to Sendker and Faulks for their writing and their exemplary humanity.
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on 4 February 2017
At times I found this novel not that engaging, but I'm glad I persevered as it blossoms into an absorbing though sad story. Set in Burma in the 1950s and the modern day it explores what made a father abandon his family. The author's description of the heightened senses of the main character, who is blind, is enthralling.
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on 19 February 2015
I honestly could have read more and more. The writing seemed so truthful, like a conversation between friends. It was easy to read and conjured up such beautiful scenes and imagery. The ending left me frustrated and although it wasn't entirely a cliff hanger, I'd love for there to be a new instalment to tell us what happened next. I didn't think I'd love it as much as I did but I came away with a heart so full and so much love for the characters and location. Excellent writing - what a novel should be!
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on 28 November 2016
One of the most beautiful love stories I've read. I devoured this book in a week. I even missed my tube stop because I was so engrossed in it, gripped by the story, hoping for a happy end. It's a eye-opening too and may encourage you to be a bit more mindful of your surroundings and to refocus your attention and energy. I've passed it on to my boyfriend now and am curious to see what he thinks.
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on 4 January 2015
If you only read one book this year, make it this one. I notice other reviewers have compared to The Kite Runner and others and I would certainly agree, adding that it also ranks alongside The Gift of Rain and The English Patient.
The prose is beautiful and moving, drawing you in to the deeply moving story of Tim Win and crippled Mi Mi. I felt it was much more than a love story because it has real depth and makes the reader think about the true meaning of our lives, what we do and why we do it but in a subtle way.
A book I found hard to put down and indeed stayed up far too late reading the first 75% on my brand new Kindle Voyage - but worth feeling tired the next day though!
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