The Cellist of Sarajevo
This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst.
One day a shell lands in a bread line and kills twenty-two people as the cellist watches from a window in his flat. He vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni’s Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims. The Adagio had been re-created from a fragment after the only extant score was firebombed in the Dresden Music Library, but the fact that it had been rebuilt by a different composer into something new and worthwhile gives the cellist hope.
Meanwhile, Kenan steels himself for his weekly walk through the dangerous streets to collect water for his family on the other side of town, and Dragan, a man Kenan doesn’t know, tries to make his way towards the source of the free meal he knows is waiting. Both men are almost paralyzed with fear, uncertain when the next shot will land on the bridges or streets they must cross, unwilling to talk to their old friends of what life was once like before divisions were unleashed on their city. Then there is “Arrow,” the pseudonymous name of a gifted female sniper, who is asked to protect the cellist from a hidden shooter who is out to kill him as he plays his memorial to the victims.
In this beautiful and unforgettable novel, Steven Galloway has taken an extraordinary, imaginative leap to create a story that speaks powerfully to the dignity and generosity of the human spirit under extraordinary duress.
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alive Amila apartment Arrow knows asks bakery Baščaršija begins believe bottles boxcar bread brewery bridge building bullet cellist cello centimetre cigarette coat coffee comes cross dead Dobrinja door Dragan knows Emina eyes face feels feet fight fire floor gone Grbavica ground hand happened Hasan hate hatless head hears hills hole hope Ilidža intersection Ismet Jovan jug contain Karaman Kenan knows killed knew Koševo Stadium leans live looks metres Miljacka mortar move Nermin never nods Oslobođenje perhaps picks plastic play pull puts reaches remember rifle Ristovski Sarajevo Sarajevo Canton seems shakes shell shoot shot shoulder side Siege of Sarajevo sits smiles sniper Sniper Alley soldiers someone sound spot stands Stari Grad steps STEVEN GALLOWAY stop street sure target tell There's things tram Trebević turns Vraca waiting walk watching wife woman wonders