March 2014 Book of the Month
As a child, I was a big fan of fairy tales. My grandparents bought me two hard backed collections for Christmas one year. Both books had raised colored illustration plates. I remember tracing the outline of the images while I read. I savored those books. It seemed they melted more than finished. I would only allow myself one story a night. Of course, I read and reread them with child-like zeal. They transported me to a different time and space where magic thrived and evil lurked and love eventually conquered all.
The Art of Hearing Heartbeats by Jan-Philipp Sendker, is a contemporary novel with strong underpinnings of fairy tale romanticism. Set in Burma, it tells the poignant story of a young couple doomed to spend their life apart yet connected by the strength of their love. Filled with mystical metaphors and lessons from Eastern spirituality, this book tugs at the readers heartstrings from page one.
In the end, like all good fairy tales, we are left with simple lessons. Most importantly, a strong reminder that truth lies beneath the surface of the everyday narratives we build in our waking life. And, despite separation, hardship, tragedy and any number of impediments, perfect love always retains the ability to shape every moment of our waking life.