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The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway | Literature & Fiction
Registered by winggypsysmomwing of Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on 2/9/2010
Average 9 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by gypsysmom): travelling

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1 journaler for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by winggypsysmomwing from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, February 09, 2010

This book has not been rated.

I picked this book up from the remainder section at McNally Robinson. For $7.99 I couldn't resist it. I've seen consistently good reviews for this book. 

Journal Entry 2 by winggypsysmomwing at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Tuesday, September 13, 2011

9 out of 10

I don’t remember much about the Bosnian war. I was back at school and having to work hard to get good marks. I hardly watched any television and I read the paper seldom. After the war was over we heard lots about the atrocities that occurred and by that time I was paying attention. But I still don’t recall hearing much about the Siege of Sarajevo. So, at the very least, this book filled that lack in my knowledge.
But it did so much more than that. The title of the book is drawn from a real example. On May 27, 1992 at 4 pm twenty-two people standing in line for bread were killed by mortar shells. The principle cellist for the Sarajevo Symphony, Vedran Smailovic, witnessed this from his apartment. The next day at 4 pm and for 21 consecutive days he put on his tuxedo and went down to the location of the explosion. He played Albinoni’s Adagio to honour the 22 dead.
This book is the story of the cellist but also of three other people living in Sarajevo at the time. Arrow is a sniper. She makes shots that no-one else can make. Her supervisor asks her to protect the cellist by killing anyone the opposing force sends to kill him. Kenan is a father and husband who used to be a clerk before the war took away his workplace. These days he provides for his family as best he can in a city that lacks most basics. Water, that most basic of necessities, requires a long trip across the city and into the hills to the brewery which has a spring in its basement so the water is clean. It’s a dangerous passage and he can get only 24 liters at a time for his family. This lasts for about 4 days which means that each person in the family gets about 1200 mL a day for drinking and washing and meal preparation. Dragan is an older man who sent his wife and son to Italy just before the blockade went into effect. He stayed behind to look after his apartment (which was subsequently destroyed). He is a baker and still has a job but he’s living with his sister. To get to the bakery he has to cross an intersection that a sniper regularly targets. He meets up with Emina, a friend of his wife, who has to cross the same intersection.
All three of these people have to make difficult decisions about how they conduct their lives now during the war because they know that will impact their lives after the war is over. The cellist provides an example of how to live and for each of them they choose a path that they know they can live with after. Since they are ordinary people their situations spoke meaningfully to me. We might not all be talented musicians that can use our talent to give hope to others but small actions (or non-actions) can be important.
Highly recommended.

Journal Entry 3 by winggypsysmomwing at King Edward Beach in Victoria Beach, Manitoba Canada on Sunday, October 09, 2011

This book has not been rated.

Released 6 yrs ago (10/8/2011 UTC) at King Edward Beach in Victoria Beach, Manitoba Canada


We went to my sister-in-law's cottage for Thanksgiving dinner. It was rather a cool and cloudy day but any day at the beach is better than a day in the city. When we took the dogs for a walk I left this book on the bench that is perfectly situated to look over the water. This release is for the 2011 52 Towns in 52 Weeks release challenge and for the Monopoly Challenge. 

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