Read advance reader review of Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker, page 9 of 9

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Whispering Shadows

by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker X
Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2015, 352 pages

    Feb 2016, 352 pages


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Page 9 of 9
There are currently 63 member reviews
for Whispering Shadows
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  • Jennifer F. (SARATOGA, CA)
    Page turner
    Whispering Shadows is an intriguing mix of heartfelt characters, shifting politics, and thrilling murder mystery. Sendker masterfully portrays the grieving father as a hermit-like character who is reluctantly pulled into this political drama. The book loses its pace a bit in the end as all the questions become wrapped up a little too easily, but it is still a very good read with well developed, interesting characters.
  • Betty B. (Irving, TX)
    Intrigue in China
    The prologue to Whispering Shadows immediately drew me in and I wanted to know more about Paul Leibowitz and how he would cope with the loss of his son. The writing at times is lyrical, and I felt like I was with Paul on his quiet little island outside Hong Kong. As the story leads Paul into China where he joins an old friend in trying to solve a mysterious death, at times I felt the story bogged down a little. But I am so glad I continued reading, as the last part of the book completely engaged me. Any reader who enjoys mysteries and intrigue, particularly if that reader is also interested in Chinese culture from the Cultural Revolution until the early 2000's, should enjoy this book.
  • Eileen P. (Pittsford, NY)
    Love and death in modern China
    An intriguing novel set in modern day China which touches on the lingering aftereffects of the Cultural Revolution as well as the social and political problems facing China today. Sendker does a great job of describing how grief, shame, and love can influence our experience of the world. The love story part of the book was more convincing and interesting than the crime thriller part. Unfortunately, the exploration of issues of trust were problematic.
  • Maribeth R. (Indianapolis, IN)
    Whispering Shadows
    Probably, like many, I looked forward to devouring this book because I longed to rekindle the feelings I had when I read The Art of Hearing Heartbeats. Unfortunately, none of the same sentiments arose from a reading of Sendker's newest tale.

    I felt confused by the poorly developed relationships which seemed to become quite intense even after unlikely encounters and introductions. It seemed the main character would have more reason to have well-developed relationships than not. However, that did not seem to be the case. The one character who most attracted my interest was the detective, Zhang. He seemed to me to be the most realistic of any of the assorted characters who ambled through the book.

    I also felt disappointed by the language of the book as I was seeking the inspiration of the language of Heartbeats. Sentences and word choices often left me wondering if this was the same author who had written the other book. Then, it crossed my mind to look at the name of the translators on each volume. I was not surprised to see a different name on each. That made me want to know, from a writer's perspective. what role the voice of the translator plays in the final production of the novel?

    I appreciated having the opportunity to read the book and hope to win another chance in the future.
  • Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
    Interesting story but.....
    Whispering Shadows has much to recommend it. It's full of facts about China's history, culture, mores, and politics, and the mystery is maintained well until the end. My main criticism concerns the lack of subtlety and nuance. In a nutshell, in many instances, the author belabors his descriptions of how a character is feeling and what s/he doesn't understand or struggles with. The characters are more black and white than I would like, and the author leaves little to the imagination. If you're just looking for a yarn, this one is fine. I was hoping for more.
  • Judy G. (Carmel, IN)
    Not enough action
    I found it difficult to finish this easy reading book because there wasn't enough action going on to hold my interest. I enjoyed the description of the friendship between Paul and Zhang--that was a good aspect of the story but the rest of the plot was not interesting to me.
  • Mary S. (Hilton Head Island, SC)
    Misses The Mark
    I really wanted to give this book a 5 star review-- the descriptions of Hong Kong and environs, the history of contemporary China showed an in depth knowledge of the story's setting. However, the story itself fell apart half way through the book. It was as if the author suddenly wanted to tell more about the character's motivation to move the story forward. In doing so, he dropped the story line, explained the rationale of a character's behavior, then back to the story. The result of this style of writing was confusing and difficult to follow. Good book, but not anything special.

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