The Cellist of Sarajevo

by Steven Galloway | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 9780307397041 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 9/3/2009
Buy from one of these Booksellers:
Amazon.com | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT | Bol.com
3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Thursday, September 03, 2009
Picked this up at Chapters because it looked so good!

From Chapters:
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.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Monday, September 14, 2009
It's the height of the siege on Sarajevo and Galloway tells the story of three different people living in the city and how war affects their life. Kenan's story is about how troublesome it is to get water in a city under fire. At every intersection, Kenan fears for his life and sees others die as they are picked off by snipers in the hill. Kenan gets water for himself and his elderly neighbour and is upset by what his city has become.

Dragan has managed to get his family out of the city but remains there. While going to buy bread he sees someone that he knew before the war and catches up with her, then watches a horrific scene unfold before him.

Finally, there's Arrow, one of the best snipers in Sarajevo. She's gotten away with choosing her own targets and taking out the men on the hills as she chooses, however when she is finally given an objective her perspective changes. After a bombing at the bread store, killing 22 people, a cellist decides to pay at that site for the next 22 days. Arrow is told to protect the cellist from any attacks.

The climax in this book was very subtle, which I'm usually not a fan of, but the entire premise of the book was very interesting. Reading about what it's like to live in a war zone is quite scary and it's no wonder that the character started to zone out from life after a while.

I did have problems remembering the differences between Kenan and Dragan at the beginning but eventually got into the groove of the book. It had a strong message and one that was communicated in an understandable way.

Journal Entry 3 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, September 18, 2009
this book is with me now!

Journal Entry 4 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Friday, October 02, 2009
This novel tells the story of three people trying to survive in Sarajevo during the siege.

One day a shell lands and kills twenty-two people waiting in line for bread, as the cellist watches from a window in his apartment. 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. Arrow, a female sniper, is asked to protect the cellist from a hidden shooter who is out to kill the cellist. Until now Arrow has been able to pick her own targets. She is now assigned a target and her whole life changes.

Kenan must navigate the dangerous streets to order to get water for his family and an elderly neighbour. At each intersection Kenan is paralyzed with fear as he watches people crossing get picked off by the snipers in the hills.

Dragon is out on the streets to go and get a free meal if he can only get there. His family has escaped the city. As he waits at an intersection he meets an old friend only to watch her get gunned down.

This novel brings the horrific and scary aspects of war and strife to the forefront. It is truly amazing what the people of Sarajevo endured. I found the ending of the book unsatisfying as there really was no ending.

Aside: It is very interesting that a Canadian author with an 'English' last name is writing so intensely about a war in Sarajevo.

Journal Entry 5 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Mailed today to Candy-is-Dandy as part of the non-genre swap.

Journal Entry 6 by wingcandy-is-dandywing at Braintree, Essex United Kingdom on Saturday, June 26, 2010
Arrived safely, all the way from Canada. Thanks.

Are you sure you want to delete this item? It cannot be undone.