The Cellist of Sarajevo

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Penguin, May 15, 2008 - Fiction - 256 pages
A spare and haunting, wise and beautiful novel about war and the endurance of the human spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim their humanity.

In a city under siege, four people whose lives have been upended are ultimately reminded of what it is to be human. From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbors waiting in a breadline. Then, in a flash, they are killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days, honoring their memory. Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and, in the face of danger, must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was. As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character—a young woman, a sniper—holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. As she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become.

A novel of great intensity and power, and inspired by a true story, The Cellist of Sarajevo poignantly explores how war can change one’s definition of humanity, the effect of music on our emotional endurance, and how a romance with the rituals of daily life can itself be a form of resistance.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Fliss88 - www.librarything.com

A different view of war, taken from the streets of Sarajevo. It's a personal view showing how war affects it's ordinary civilians. Chapters rotate between three main characters and we see all three ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - abycats - LibraryThing

This is a slight book featuring only a few characters but it's stayed with me enough so that I almost picked it as my first suggestions for a monthly read. Based on real facts, a musician in a town ... Read full review

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About the author (2008)

Steven Galloway lives in British Columbia and teaches creative writing at the University of British Coumbia.

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