A Well-Tempered Heart


A Well-Tempered Heart by Jan-Philipp Sendker - 388 pages
Book Blurb:
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 recently left her, she has suffered a miscarriage, 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, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, explores the most inspiring and passionate terrain: the human heart.
My Review: 4.5 stars
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. I was so excited for another novel by this author but oh so wary that it was a sequel to a much treasured book. Happily, it worked well, yet I felt the “hearing voices” was a gimmicky way to get back to Burma. I suppose it was necessary to be sold and marketed as a stand alone book, but for those of us who met Julia in the first book, it’s seemed a little odd.
Inspiring and insightful “buddahisms” were aplenty and of course, a fine romance was represented in the story. I look forward to reading anything this author writes.
Quotes I liked:
- “Besides, I have no point of comparison,...that is the secret of a happy life.”

- “A child’s soul knows everything. A heart forgets nothing.”

- “It is our own flaws that we are least ready to forgive in others.”

- “Intuition is the incorruptible memory of our experiences. We have only to listen closely to what it tells us.  It does not always speak plainly. Or it tells us things we don’t want to hear. that does not make them untrue.”

“We are not only responsible for what we do, but also for what we fail to do.”

Tags: 2014, Fiction, Asian, Burma,

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