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Critical Praise

"Set in Burma, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a rare novel. Telling the story of a young blind man’s journey through a world of auditory intensity, Jan-Philipp Sendker renews one’s faith in the possibility of real, pure love. I finished the book in tears."

—Shawna Yang Ryan, author of Water Ghosts

"No matter what I even attempt to say, I can’t possibly capture the absolute magic of this book. Like a spell, it haunts. Like love, it’s going to endure."

—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"A story at once both poignant and joyous, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats reaffirms how love can transform the harshest of realities into a mystical one. Sendker takes us from contemporary, upscale New York to impoverished Burma, weaving a complex tale that is part romance, part father-daughter story. Reading this book was like reading poetry, with full attention required for each sentence. A thoroughly immersive and enjoyable read."

—Margaret Dilloway, author of How to Be an American Housewife

"Achingly beautiful."

The Quiet Moments

"A love story that puts The Notebook to shame…for the love-hungry, the romantic, the dreamer, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats is a satisfying escape from reality. Love like this may not exist in our world, but we might be better off if it did."


"Sendker’s descriptions and his setting in Burma, a country which few readers know, lend a sense of atmosphere and mystery to the novel, and his often lyrical approach to the points of view of Tin Win and Mi Mi creates a charming romance which will keep many readers fascinated."

Seeing the World Through Books

"A strong, interesting, heartfelt story of love and understanding will keep readers glued to the last page. 4 and a half stars."

Romantic Times Book Reviews, Top Pick

"With Valentine’s Day just looming, this ‘little-novel-that-could-and-did’ is poised to hit bestseller lists sooner than later. The story’s simple (dare I say … blind?!) trust in the everlasting power of love guarantees Heartbeats‘ sweetness will last far longer than the empty calories of even the very best heart-shaped confections."

—Terry Hong, BookDragon

"Sweetly tragic."

Library Journal

"Already a huge hit in Europe, Sendker’s debut is a lush tale of romance and family set in mid-twentieth century Burma…A beautiful tale bound to enchant readers on this side of the Atlantic."


"An epic narrative that requires…a large box of tissues."

Publishers Weekly

"[The Art of Hearing Heartbeats] is a love story set in Burma…imbued with Eastern spirituality and fairy-tale romanticism…Fans of Nicholas Sparks and/or Elizabeth Gilbert should eat this up."

Kirkus Reviews

"Magical…It's stories like The Art of Hearing Heartbeats that show how our very existence is important….What a gift that is."

Huffington Post

"Sendker has a mesmerizing way with words, slowly drawing the reader into the story….It is a book well worth reading."

Free Lance-Star

"[A] brilliant debut…Sendker's novel proves to be a love story of the most masterful variety: one that requires a box of tissues without ever venturing into the land of cliché. Coupled with an unusual glimpse into the Burma of the 1950s and today, readers will delight in the emotional power of Sendker's storytelling and find themselves believing not only in the power of love, but the strength of family."

Shelf Awareness for Readers