The Cellist of Sarajevo

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Feb 24, 2009 - Fiction - 272 pages
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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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - flydodofly - LibraryThing

I read this book because I grew up in Sarajevo, left a few years before the war, so naturally I heard a lot about it and know many people there. What I would like to know is how come Galloway wrote ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - PilgrimJess - LibraryThing

"A weapon does not decide whether or not to kill. A weapon is a manifestation of a decision that was already made." The siege of Sarajevo was the longest city siege in history of modern warfare and ... Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

CHAPTER ONE
8
Arrow
9
Ken an
21
Dragan
33
CHAPTER TWO
45
Ken an
47
Arrow
67
Dragan
77
Ken an
155
CHAPTER THREE
174
Dragan
175
Arrow
187
Ken an
203
Arrow
217
Dragan
228
CHAPTER FOUR
239

Arrow
93
Ken an
111
Dragan
123
Arrow
137
Ken an
241
Dragan
246
Arrow
253
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Steven Galloway is the author of Finnie Walsh, Ascension and The Cellist of Sarajevo.

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