Saturday, December 5, 2015

Sendker, Jan-Philipp (The Art of Hearing Heartbeats)

I didn't really expect a clone of a Nicholas Sparks novel. Albeit one set in an exotic locale.

It was clear from the get-go that this author has spent a lot of time in Burma (Myanmar) and treats this novel as a way to say what he likes and doesn't like about the country. To do that, he wraps up descriptions of the people, culture, landscape and (apparently terrible) food in a completely unrealistic love story. 

I'm really, really okay with the "two people fall in love and struggle with some obstacles to stay together" trope. Because it's mostly realistic, it happens to a lot of us, and putting some good literary chops behind that can make for the best of all novels. But, this guy wants us to believe that his particular love story is the most special of them all, frankly, because it involves one blind person and one crippled person. And that these two have a love that transcends everything and anything. Horsepucky. No one's love is like that. I expect I could have treated this book like a fairy tale, but I live in the real world, and fairy tales only work for me in Fantasy fiction.

And the secret ending that he's hiding from us all along? Might as well yell it from the rooftops at the beginning, it's so obvious.

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