The Art of Hearing Heartbeats - Jan-Philipp Sendker

 This sweet, sentimental tale of two disabled Burmese villagers, who find each other as children and forge a love so overpowering that it sustains them despite lives lived apart, has been compared to a fairy tale. For me it was more like the world's longest fortune cookie. It's not that I didn't get caught up in their ardor-I'm a sucker for love stories- but the simplistic dichotomy it sets up: between the life-affirming wisdom of the East, and the mercantile obsessions of the West, left me cold. I take aphorisms about life and love seriously, but I prefer some General Tso's chicken first. It's an easy-read and you'd have to be a heartless plutocrat not to shed a couple of tears, but overall, it's as insubstantial as the vapor rising from a bowl of wonton soup. Its most lasting impression on me is how to conjure up some positive thoughts about it to share with my book club. 


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