A Well-tempered Heart

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Overview

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 ...

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A Well-tempered Heart

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
09/30/2013
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. (Jan)
From the Publisher
***AMAZON.COM BEST BOOK OF THE MONTH SELECTION***

"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

“Sendker’s follow-up to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats…opens readers’ eyes to a history of buried atrocities…[and] takes pains to develop a realistic world…”  —Publishers Weekly 

“An absorbing, moving sequel.” —Booklist

“In…Sendker’s sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats…[Julia] returns to Burma…for further lessons in love.  Sendker [is] a mesmerizing storyteller.” —Kirkus

“Very literary, it is a story of emotion, of magic, of belief, of many kinds of love and of hope. Like the previous book, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, the sequel is beautifully written…in this series, the mystical elements are as important as the mundane…Many readers will find A Well-Tempered Heart incredibly beautiful and moving.” —RT Book Reviews

“Earnest and endearing, this just-arriving-in-translation sequel to the international mega-bestseller, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, is a through-the-night read that will leave you sighing and swooning…German journalist Jan-Philipp Sendker‘s novels somehow manage to provide a rare, cleansing catharsis…Just as her father followed his heart home, Julia is called back by a desperate stranger with impossible questions from the other side of the world…But before Julia can answer, she must learn in her own heart ”what is important”… might I add, surely a life lesson for us all.”—BookDragon 

“Sendker evokes Burma and the juxtaposition of simple rural lives against a threatening military that demands the lives of their sons—not even as soldiers but as human land mine sweepers—with prose that is lush and as mystical as the villagers’ beliefs.” —Gilmore Guide to Books

"Jan-Philipp Sendker delivers another intriguing tale with A Well-Tempered Heart." —RT Books

"When Jan-Philipp Sendker penned the sequel to his international bestseller The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, romantics worldwide breathed a sigh of relief. In this book readers have the chance to follow Julia Win, a Manhattan lawyer who stumbles upon a journey of self-reflection while picking up the pieces of her personal life. This story of love, loss, and understanding is sure to leave an impression on your heart." —Ladies Home Journal
 
"What begins as a problem-solving quest becomes a journey of self-discovery, sure to resonate with anyone who has ever sought to reinvent oneself." —Shelf Awareness

"...[L]ike poetry.  A story within a story, where the main characters are entwined...[A Well-Tempered Heart] will transport you to the spot where everything happens, then leave you breathless wanting more." —Serendipitous Readings
 
"A winning locale and a lost soul seeking something she is unsure of what make for a delightful sequel." —Genre Go Round Books
 
"[A] hauntingly beautiful sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats... A Well-Tempered Heart touches the reader on many levels. It is a love story: love of a mother for her sons, love between a sister and brother, and love between a man and a woman." —The Freelance-Star

"Once again, author and translator alike, have magically strung a beautiful piece of writing together. This book, like it’s prequel is a beautifully written story with a lyrical style that leaves you wanting more." —Good Book Fairy

"[T]ruly an original, the author’s prose flawless and evocative." —Historical Novels Review

"Engagingly drawn." —BookPage

Kirkus Reviews
2013-10-21
In the German novelist Sendker's sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (2012), a Manhattan attorney returns to Burma 10 years after her first visit for further lessons in love. When she was 28, intellectual property lawyer Julia traveled to Burma, where she learned of her Burmese father's early life and his reunion with the love of his life, whom he'd left behind before moving to America and marrying Julia's American mother. While there, she became close to the saintly half brother, U Ba, she never knew existed. Since her return to New York, she has meant to return to Burma but never got around to it. Now, shortly after breaking up with her boyfriend and receiving a letter from U Ba, Julia begins to hear a voice asking her questions. A psychiatrist prescribes drugs to quell the voice. Instead, she visits a Buddhist center, where a Burmese monk clarifies that another woman's soul is trapped inside Julia's body. Soon, Julia is winging her way to Burma, where she quickly finds U Ba, who takes her to visit Khin Khin, an elderly woman who tells the story of her dead half sister, Nu Nu, whose voice haunts Julia. (In his first novel, Sendker used the similar technique of framing one story inside another.) Nu Nu's crisis was that she loved her first son more than her second. The second son, Thar Thar, grew up aware he was unwanted by his mother. Nevertheless, after his loving father's early death, Thar Thar cared well for his mother and brother, but when Burmese soldiers forced Nu Nu to make a "Sophie's choice," she didn't hesitate in deciding to save her favorite. So, 12-year-old Thar Thar was forced into the army. As Julia and U Bar discover what became of Thar Thar, Julia learns about the power of love and realizes where her own heart truly belongs. Sendker can be a mesmerizing storyteller, but his high quotient of romantic spiritualism is hard for even the mildly skeptical to take seriously.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590516409
  • Publisher: Other Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/21/2014
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 67,517
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet 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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Read an Excerpt

   “Can you also hear heartbeats?”
   “No.”
   “Too bad.” Thar Thar looked at me. “I once knew someone who could tune a heart.”
   “Tune a heart?” I asked, wondering if I had understood him correctly.
   “Yes, like an instrument. If a heart was out of tune, he would retune it.”
   “How can a heart be out of tune?” I asked.
   Thar Thar cocked his head to the side and smirked. “The daughter of a heart listener really ought to know that.”
   Was he making fun of me?
   “Alas, there are many ways. Have you never heard of irregular heartbeats, rapid heartbeats, premature heartbeats? If life has made you mean, or if disappointments have made you as bitter as a slice of tamarind, your heart beats too deeply. If you are afraid, it starts to flutter like a young bird. If you are sad, it beats so slowly that a person might expect it to stop completely any minute. If your spirit is overwhelmed by confusion, it beats most irregularly. Is it different in America?”
   “No. But when we have arrhythmia we go to a cardiologist.”
   “That’s a different matter. They are mechanics of the heart. They have nothing to do with tuning a heart.”
   “How does one tune a heart?” I asked quietly.
   Thar Thar cleared his throat, stuck the knife into the cutting board, and fell silent. He did not answer.
   “Does it require a special gift?”
   He looked past me. His lower lip began to quiver.
   “What does it take to be a heart tuner? Who can do it? A magician? An astrologer?”
   He shook his head. Without a word.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 1, 2014

    A great sequel

    I accidentally discovered this sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats and I was so excited. I absolutely LOVED both books.

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    Excellent book.

    A Well-Tempered Heart was one of my favorite books, It is the sequel to The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. This book is the story of a journey of self discovery taken by a young woman. The story line is believable, characters are real, and the writing style is a joy to read. If you enjoy books about other countries and life styles, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it!

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    Posted July 13, 2014

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    Posted July 14, 2014

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