May online ebook club wrap up: The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

The art of hearing heartbeatsThis month we looked at a romance novel for our online ebook club. While I refer to it as a romance novel The Art of Hearing Heartbeats byJan-Philipp Sendker is not the Mills and Boon type of romance. It is more an exploration of love and understanding – romantic and familial. It follows Julia as she goes in search of her father who disappeared to Burma years earlier. She is seeking to find him and understand why he left so suddenly. In her search she encounters U-Ba, a friendly local man who tells her a story about her father and his secret past.

This book is very easy to read and emotionally told. U Ba tells the tale like a fable so at times you get the sense that it is a little exaggerated. It is, however, a beautifully told story. I particularly engaged with the descriptions of Tin Win’s heightened sense of hearing following his blindness, and the way this enhanced his relationship with Mi Mi. The descriptions of the sounds he heard were so vivid I felt like I could hear them myself. It also got me thinking that we never really know our parents as well as we think we do and maybe this is something we need to change.

For me, the biggest downsides to the story were the characters of Julia and U-Ba. Neither of these people seemed overly realistic to me. At times Julia’s reactions to U-Ba seemed very odd and out of place and neither character was described in deep detail. In saying that I think the main role of the two characters was to act as a vehicle for the bigger story which is why we never get to know them better. I have heard there is a sequel, A Well-Tempered Heart and I think we get to know Julia better in this book.

All-in-all, I found this book to be simple but compelling and beautiful. It’s a great read if you’re looking for a nice story that raises some though-provoking themes without delving too deeply into them.