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65. The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway...

April 11, 2009
The Cellist of Sarajevo is my first LibraryThing Early Reviewers book. It came on Friday, and just called at me... I had to pick it up. =)

The book is fiction, but is based slightly on the true story of Vedran Smailovic, who in 1992 played Albinoni's Adagio in G Minor on his cello every day for 22 days, to honor 22 people - his neighbors - killed by mortar shells while queuing for bread at 10:00am. The cellist is one of four characters whose stories comprise this book. The other three are Kenan, who risks his life to get water for his family & a neighbor; Dragan, a baker living with his sister and brother-in-law; and Arrow, former member of the University's target-shooting team who now snipes at targets she defines.

The first thing that hits you is the bleakness of life in a city under siege. Survival is a priority, until it's just another chore. Dragan is closed off to life around him, all he wants to do is make it to work so he can bring home the loaf of bread that he gets as payment for work. Kenan has to make the water run every 4 days, and he's scared every time he steps out of his apartment building. But he can't show his family, especially his children, that. They're trusting him to make sure they make it through the war. And Arrow. Arrow who used to have a name, a real name. Not one she made up so that she can say, later, that the person she was would never have done what Arrow did. When she can no longer operate on her terms, when she can no longer choose who her next target is, does she give in or hold on to the only thing she can - her principles?

The Cellist of Sarajevo is a beautifully written story of ordinary people thrown into the chaos of wartime. And while we understand the want, the need, to survive, can we truly know what is does to the psyche? Even if there's still hope - that the war will end, that they will survive - does it matter in the end when they're losing bits of themselves at every turn? Read it.

Title: The Cellist of Sarajevo
Author: Steven Galloway
ISBN-10: 1594483655
ISBN-13: 978-1-59258-365-3
Paperback: 231 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books, 2009 (reprint)


Bingo said...

Nice interview and you read so fast....good for you! You must have great eyes to not hurt or else you really are a speedy reader..I guess you really do inhale books :D sounds like a good one!

bethany (dreadlock girl) said...

I am in the middle of this and LOVING it!

bermudaonion said...

That book sounds really powerful. Thanks for the review.

Anonymous said...

Great review. I have that problem too, that a tempting book arrives and it jumps to the top of the heap! But usually they are worth it - there's just something you can tell about it!

Unknown said...

Hi,its nice blog.I like its and already added and commented your blog.

Unknown said...

Thanks Drey for the great review. This will be another book I am going to have to add to that towering pile of mine. Have a great week.

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

Great review. I am about fifty pages into this one and I am really enjoying each person's quiet, yet devastating reflections of how the war is affecting their lives.

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