The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker (Mommy and Me Book Club)

Thanks for joining my “Mommy and Me” Book Club. I hope you’re enjoying my ongoing “stay in bed and read” series. See my thoughts on the previous book, All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

Title:  The Art of Hearing Heartbeats

Author:  Jan-Philipp Sendker

Page No.:  352 pages

Publisher:  Other Press

Price: $10.84 (paperback)

Genres:  fiction; romance, mystery


“Who are you? What’s your name?”

“Mi Mi.”

“Do you hear that thumping noise?”


“It must be here somewhere.” Tin Win knelt down. Now it was nearly next to his ear. “I hear it more and more distinctly. A soft pulsing. You really don’t hear it?”


“Close your eyes.”

Mi Mi closed her eyes. “Nothing,” she said, and laughed. Tin Win leaned over and felt her breath on his face. “I think it’s coming from you.” He crept closer to her and held his head just in front of her chest.

There it was. Her heartbeat.

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. (From Goodreads)

Parenting Topics:

Without giving anything away (hopefully)…

  • Abandoning Child(ren)
  • Adolescence/Puberty/Sexual Maturity
  • Adoptive Parents 
  • Childbirth
  • Children with Special Needs
  • Death of Parent(s)
  • Education/Planning Child(ren)’s Future
  • Siblings/Half Siblings 
  • Perinatal Mood Disorder; Postpartum Depression 
  • Only Children 


With a parenting focus…

Parental Figures

Anyone can be a parent, but Mom (or Dad) is a role you play.

Life Paths

“Every life [including your child(ren)’s] has its own course.”

Long Distance Relationships (with your kiddos)

Love can transcend great distances and time.

Self Fulfilling Prophesies

The way you talk to your child becomes his or her inner voice.

Quotable Quotes:

On Death

“Every life contains the seed of death…Death, like birth, was a part of life that no one could escape. It was senseless to resist it. Far better to accept it as natural than to fear it.”

On Depression

“She saw that he knew what loneliness was, that he understood why it might be raining inside a person even when the sun shone, that sadness needed no immediate cause.”

On Heartbeats

“Hearts sounded different from person to person, betraying age or youth, joy, sorrow, fear, or courage, but that was all.”

On Life

“Life is a gift full of riddles in which suffering and happiness are inextricably intertwined. Any attempt to have one without the other was simply bound to fail.”

On Love

“…I speak of a love that brings sight to the blind. Of a love stronger than fear. I speak of a love that breathes meaning into life, that defies the natural laws of deterioration, that causes us to flourish, that knows no bounds. I speak of the triumph of the human spirit over selfishness and death.”

On Love Languages

“…we acknowledge as love primarily those things that correspond to our own image thereof. We wish to be loved as we ourselves would love. Any other way makes us uncomfortable. We respond with doubt and suspicion. We misinterpret the signs. We do not understand the language. We accuse. We assert that the other person does not love us. But perhaps he merely loves us in some idiosyncratic way that we fail to recognize.”

On Scars

“…there are wounds time does not heal, though it can reduce them to a manageable size.”

On Sight

“It’s true I lost my eyesight many years ago. But that doesn’t mean I’m blind.”

On Soul Mates

“The smallest human unit is two not one.”

On Turning Points

“And so there must be in life something like a catastrophic turning point, when the world as we know ceases to exist. A moment that transform us into a different person from one heartbeat to the next.”

Worth Staying Up Late For (after the kids have gone to bed?): 

  • Yes, Stay Up Late!
  • Maybe, But See What’s on TV First.
  • No, Go to Bed!

This book makes you think about your own upbringing and the people, e.g. your parents, who have expanded your horizon “beyond the garden fence.”

How can you be a horizon expander for someone else? How do you help your child(ren)’s “soul sprout wings”?

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