The Cellist of Sarajevo
by Steven Galloway
Hardcover- $14.95

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  "The Cellist Of Sarajevo" by LFOGGLE (see profile) 12/02/09

This book is a magnificent study about a loss of civilization in our time. The cellist of the title is a brave and moving figure who brings to the reader a bit of beauty in a war torn and violent city. I and my book group LOVED this fantastic read.

  "The Cellist of Sarajevo" by jhickey (see profile) 08/21/10

A small chef d'oeuvre that draws you into a world that you may only have glanced at on CNN. A story of hope in the midst of despair. As the reader comes to know the characters, their religion or politics matter not at all. Galloway has captured the fears, despair, and bewilderment in poignant vignettes that leave lasting impressions. In watercolor brushstrokes he paints the consequences of intolerance and religious hatred - how war affects the innocent as well as the guilty. The unlikely hero-cellist (based on a true life character) inspires and leaves us in awe. This an ominously quiet book with a powerful message.

  "The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway" by FTessa (see profile) 11/02/10

Four citizens of Sarajevo are connected by one of them - a cellist who vows to perform Albonini's Adagio once per day in honor of the 22 victims of a missile strike at a bakery. Powerful images of war and the effects on the civilian population as well as the soldiers.

  "Cellist" by cao324 (see profile) 04/10/11

  "The Cellist of Sarajevo" by kkazonovitz (see profile) 11/27/11

  "none" by clkopplin (see profile) 03/15/12

  "The Cellist of Sarajavo" by nancytluckey (see profile) 01/17/14

Wonderfully written book. All members felt they were in Sarajavo as they read the book.

  "The Cellist of Sarajevo" by Annasnana (see profile) 04/09/14

This book tells a haunting story of four people in war torn Sarajevo, during the long siege. A mortar kills 22 people waiting in line for bread, and a cellist, friends with many of those killed, decides to play his cello on the exact spot, exact time, as the deadly attack, for 22 days, one day for each person killed. A young sniper is called on to protect the cellist. This book describes what daily life is for those who live in the city under siege. Highly recommend this book!

  "Even in war, hope springs eternal!" by thewanderingjew (see profile) 09/02/14

In 1992, civil war breaks out in Sarajevo. The violence of war often brings out the worst in us, breeding evil, greed, selfishness and corruption. Before long, the people become inured to the death and destruction around them and soon begin to view it almost as normal life. If they don’t accept it, if they are stalwart and reject the values of their enemies, they will not succumb to their demands. Violence and death in the streets occur indiscriminately, but the murderers can search within themselves, they do not have to murder arbitrarily.

There are only a few important characters in this book. One is an accomplished professional musician, a cellist who decides to go outside, in spite of the danger, to play his cello for 22 days, one day for each of the innocent victims who died during a mortar attack as they waited to buy bread at the bakery. This story is very loosely based on Verdran Smailovic, a very real cellist who played his instrument during the war.

Then there is Arrow, not her real name, a professional sniper in the army, whose job it is to protect the cellist because the cellist is giving the people of Sarajevo hope for the future and has become a target. When her commanding officer loses his moral compass, she is forced to make a difficult choice.
Kenan is a husband and father who goes out every three or four days to collect water for his family and also for an elderly, cantankerous neighbor, a survivor from the concentration camps of WWII. The walk to the brewery, the only place to get fresh water, is fraught with danger, and he often freezes in fear and contemplates his reasons for going. His task is made harder because his neighbor won't use jugs with handles, forcing him to double back several times to get the water home. He questions his reasons for helping such an ungrateful person.

Dragan, a man in his mid sixties, works in a bakery, the same bakery whose customers were killed while waiting on line for bread. He came late to fatherhood, and out of concern for his wife and son’s safety, he sent them to Italy while he remained behind to watch their home. When he witnesses a sniper attack on a woman who is a friend of his wife, and he sees others shot down before him, alive one minute, dead the next, he experiences a cataclysmic change of his rationale about life.

The citizens of Sarajevo must face fear every day. Some go about their business ignoring it, some become brave and help others, some freeze and can do nothing but stare at victims and witness the devastation in horror. They have become used to the idea that the war will never end and they begin to lose their own humanity, but the cellist returns them to their senses. His bravery and dedication inspire them to believe in tomorrow; he gives them hope.

The danger and caprice of war, when it comes to victims is movingly portrayed. They are prey and are helpless to defend themselves. After awhile, both sides that are fighting lose sight of their purpose and the hero and villain become interchangeable, both behaving heinously, indiscriminately committing murder.

The audio was read very well, and I finished it in half a day, unable to stop because it was such a compelling story that had many philosophical lessons to teach. We don’t have to succumb to our basest instincts. War can destroy all feelings of mercy and decency, but we can recover and restore our humanity in the face of the most heinous evil, if we dare to hope for the future and are strong enough to face it.


  "Cellist of Sarajevo " by MGabe (see profile) 01/30/15

Very intense, but thought provoking. I felt the author did an excellent job of transporting the reading into the lives of 3 different characters in a war torn counrty. although the book was written about the Sarajevo siege the main concepts are transferable to many warring countries

  "" by wniccoli (see profile) 03/23/15

  "Cellist of Sarajevo" by Carolynr (see profile) 03/22/16

it is a dark, sad book. But tells the story of that time ...a story i think is easy for the world to forget

  "" by KellyG (see profile) 06/16/17

Insightful but lacks context from a historical perspective. Complex area that could have been a lot more interesting if past and present was brought into view.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 09/21/18

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 06/02/19

A peak into a difficult history.

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 10/19/19

  "" by [email protected] (see profile) 11/23/19

  "" by nellysteele (see profile) 03/10/20

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