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A Well-Tempered Heartby Jan-Philipp Sendker
Synopses & Reviews
The sequel to the international best-selling novel The Art of Hearing Heartbeats.
Almost ten years have passed since Julia Win came back from Burma, her father’s native country. Though she is a successful Manhattan lawyer, her private life is at a crossroads; her boyfriend has recently left her and she is, despite her wealth, unhappy with her professional life. Julia is lost and exhausted.
One day, in the middle of an important business meeting, she hears a stranger’s voice in her head that causes her to leave the office without explanation. In the following days, her crisis only deepens. Not only does the female voice refuse to disappear, but it starts to ask questions Julia has been trying to avoid. Why do you live alone? To whom do you feel close? What do you want in life?
Interwoven with Julia’s story is that of a Burmese woman named Nu Nu who finds her world turned upside down when Burma goes to war and calls on her two young sons to be child soldiers. This spirited sequel, like The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain: the human heart.
"An American tourist's second trip to her ancestral homeland in search of guidance falls flat in Sendker's follow-up to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. At first, Julia Win believes the voice in her head is just a symptom of the stress built up from her high-pressure job and recent breakup. But when Western medicine fails to give her relief, an old monk at a yoga retreat suggests the pleas come from an unhappy Burmese soul inhabiting her body. Returning to Burma, Julia enlists U Ba, the half-brother she hasn't seen in 10 years, to put the unhappy soul to rest. It turns out to belong to a woman who tried to protect her sons from a raging civil war in the country, only to be forced into a terrible choice. The bloody horror of her ordeal opens readers' eyes to a history of buried atrocities, but the premise for Julia's visit is tenuous, and its resolution has little to do with her original problem. Sendker takes pains to develop a realistic world, only to offer Burmese characters who speak almost exclusively in aphorisms ('Whoever forgives is a prisoner no more'), coming across less as flesh-and-blood people than as mystical guideposts for the heroine." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"An absolutely transcendent novel that doesn't just dare to understand the human heart, it inhabits it. About love, unspeakable loss, and coming to know what really saves us in life, this is the kind of stunningly perfect novel that changes lives. I know it did mine. To say I loved it is pure understatement." Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You and Is This Tomorrow
About the Author
Jan-Philipp Sendker, born in Hamburg in 1960, was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. In 2000 he published Cracks in the Wall, a nonfiction book about China. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, his first novel, is an international best seller. He lives in Berlin with his family.
Kevin Wiliarty has a BA in German from Harvard and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. A native of the United States, he has also lived in Germany and Japan. He is currently an academic technician at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where he lives with his wife and two children.
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