A young woman travels from New York to Myanmar in search for her father after he'd vanished four years earlier. This story opens in present day while most of it is a flashback to the 1950's, and is about a young woman named Julia who goes looking for her father who simply up and left her mother. The father is a successful lawyer and the only clue that is found about where he may be is in a love letter to another woman written years earlier. The details read like breadcrumbs leading the way to Myanmar for Julia, who comes across a stranger, U Ba, in a tea house wanting to tell her a story. She finds this odd, but she also is intrigued. She returns and soon learns about a man named Tin Win, who is her father with a curious past. U Ba gets Julia to return and tells the tale about how Tin Win's mother, who was very superstitious, believes the young boy was going to bring bad luck. As it turns out, Tin Win goes blind.
Tin Win, who has the uncanny ability of hearing the softest of heartbeats from a distance away, ends up falling in love with a young crippled girl named Mi Mi. Tin Win is sent to live with monks who teach him how to see without eyes, which empowers him. Unfortunately, Tin Win and Mi Mi become separated and soon he is on a boat heading to America. He also regains his sight and makes a successful life for himself. However, Tin Win cannot stop thinking of Mi Mi and goes to find her, and his daughter chases after him.
Julia learns that her father finds Mi Mi who is dying. U Ba informs her that Tin Win died beside her since her heartbeat ended so did Tin Win's. Then it is revealed that the stranger telling a story was actually the son of Mi Mi and Tin Win's, stunning Julia.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked the way the author introduced the character of U Ba, making this reader want to know why he had the details to offer Julia.
Best scene in story:
When Tin Win meets Mi Mi for the first time and how they immediately forged a friendship.
Opinion about the main character:
Since this is being told to Julia and we are seeing the details through her eyes, I liked her ability to accept the story U Ba is telling her.
Betty Lou Kishler on 7/21/2015 1:01:44 PM says: I always like books that take place in China, Japan, Burma (Myammar). I liked the idea that Julia's mother, TinWin's husband made him marry her, sure they would succeed
in the marriage. TinWin couldn't tolerate her possessiveness and finally just left her to return to Burma and MiMi. He had found out that his uncle had never mailed letters to MiMi nor given him letters from MiMi. Their love lasted all that time. The end was so appropriate, no happy ending except that they would go into the Spirit World together.