The cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

  Regina  Review by:  Regina

Title:  The cellist of Sarajevo

Author:  Steven Galloway

Collection:  Adult Fiction

This year’s choice for One Maryland, One Book, 2012 is the exquisite and hauntingly written novel of a true character, a cellist who played for 22 days straight to memorialize his 22 neighbors killed by a mortar, set in the midst of the war besieged, once lovely city of Sarajevo. The author, Steven Galloway, chose three main characters to be part of the story – a young married man with a family set on getting the basic need of water across town, an older man, a baker, who is paralyzed by fear trying to cross bullet-ridden intersections to get to his job, and a female sniper – a young, talented woman, whose job is to take out soldiers and initially against her wishes, protect the cellist. Told by each viewpoint, the reader is drawn into Sarajevo’s terror and dread.

The story of Sarajevo has always pulled at my heart strings, so beautiful a city revered by its inhabitants and used as an example of fine culture and religious diversity for so many years, but finally toppled to civil unrest and greed – a lesson for us all, but all too common. The courage/fear/humanity shown by the four main characters are not soon forgotten and as I’ve read the book over a week ago at the time of this review – I am still moved and disquieted by its words…

On an interesting side note, did you know: Sarajevo was also the first city in Europe and the second city in the world to have a full-time operational electric tram network running through the city, the first being San Francisco.


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