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The Cellist of Sarajevo

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted August 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Very EleĀ­gant Read

    The Cel­list of Sara­jevo by Steven Gal­loway is a work of real­is­tic fic­tion. The novel is a quick but somber read and takes place dur­ing the 1990s siege of Sarajevo.

    Dur­ing the siege of Sara­jevo a musi­cian sees 22 of his friends and neigh­bors get­ting killed while wait­ing in a bread line. The man decided to play his cello on the site for 22 days.

    A young man named Degan goes to col­lect drink­ing water for his fam­ily, this sim­ple act is self­less and dan­ger­ous. Another man, Keenan, goes to search for bread, while run­ning into an old friend who reminds him of the city that was lost. They are all being watched, unknow­ingly by Arrow, a female sniper.

    The Cel­list of Sara­jevo by Steven Gal­loway is a book which is has all the right parts but for me, didn’t come together. The imagery is astound­ing, the char­ac­ters are believ­able and the story telling is both haunt­ing and poetic.

    After 250 pages (or so) of build up there is … nothing.

    The ten­sion in the book is felt on every page, as some­one who fol­lowed the events in 1990s I cer­tainly under­stood the story and the con­text for which it was told. How­ever, even if one is not famil­iar with the con­text, the much larger uni­ver­sal themes and val­ues in the book, such as human life, decency and appre­ci­a­tion of the small things in life are represented.

    As you can tell, I really don’t know what to think of this book – it is by no means bad, but a very ele­gant read. The cel­list in the title appear maybe four times in the whole book, I expected to gain more under­stand­ing into his actions, get to know him, his fam­ily and more. Mainly I was hop­ing to read about how such an grace­ful ges­ture, play­ing clas­si­cal music in a war torn coun­try on a dan­ger­ous street, would affect other lives in Sara­jevowho have no or lit­tle con­nec­tion to the cel­list himself.

    Which, again, it is not to say that this s not a good book, maybe I was mis­lead by the title, maybe the novel was just too short or maybe I sim­ply didn’t gain enough under­stand­ing of the sit­u­a­tion at hand.

    The novel is based on Vedran Smailovic who played his cello in aban­doned build­ings dur­ing the siege of Sarajevo.

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Cellist Is Interesting

    This book was good; but not great. This story does stress the importance of both music and community. However, I didn't like Arrow much. I couldn't understand why she HAD to kill people. This book is haunting and illustrates that war changes people, sometimes, for the worst and sometimes, for the better. The cellist was playing music so that he could like he had control over some aspect of the war. The book also showed how powerful music is in people's lives.

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    Posted October 24, 2011

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    Posted November 23, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2012

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