The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker
Other Press
• $14.95 • ISBN 9781590514634
On sale January 31, 2012


Do you ever wonder what books avid readers are devouring in other countries? Being in the book business makes me think about things like that. I mean, what great bestsellers am I missing that people in Europe are raving about? Shouldn’t I be reading those books, too?

Fortunately, there are a few U.S. publishers who make a habit of buying foreign rights and translating international bestsellers for us Yanks to read. Other Press is one of those publishers, and I just happen to know and adore their Associate Publisher, who has excellent reading taste. (Well, it matches mine so it’s got to be excellent, right?) On a recent visit to the Other Press offices, said Associate Publisher handed me a galley of one of their upcoming titles. He guaranteed that I was going to be enchanted by it. And, yes, once again he was right!


The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker was originally published in Germany in 2002. It quickly became a word-of-mouth sensation, and the passion of booksellers and readers launched it to international bestsellerdom in Europe. Here’s why:

It’s a story about the power of a love that can’t be diminished by time or distance. Set in Burma, a blind boy and a crippled girl forge a bond that can never be broken. Together they learn to use their senses to navigate the human heart and the world itself. But it’s also the tale of an abandoned daughter's quest as she searches for the father she discovers she never really knew. She must come to terms with her father’s past and solve the mystery of his disappearance. Beautifully written, and even a bit magical, the novel draws you in on the very first page. It’s a love story like no other I’ve ever read.

Here’s a taste of what it’s like to master the art of hearing heartbeats…

"Every voice had its distinctive repertoire of expressive forms, and so, too, did every heart. Recognizing strangers by their heartbeat on a second or third meeting posed no difficulty for Tin Win, even though the beating was never absolutely identical. It betrayed much about body and soul and altered with time or according to the situation. Hearts could sound young or decrepit, boring or bored, mysterious or predictable. Yet what was he to think when an individual’s voice and heart were at odds, each telling a different, mutually incompatible story?”

The novel comes out on January 31. Get your hands on it as soon as you can!

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