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The Cellist of Sarajevo [Kindle Edition]

Steven Galloway
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
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Book Description

The Top 10 International Bestseller

Snipers in the hills overlook the shattered streets of Sarajevo. Knowing that the next bullet could strike at any moment, the ordinary men and women below strive to go about their daily lives as best they can. Kenan faces the agonizing dilemma of crossing the city to get water for his family. Dragan, gripped by fear, does not know who among his friends he can trust. And Arrow, a young woman counter-sniper must push herself to the limits - of body and soul, fear and humanity.

Told with immediacy, grace and harrowing emotional accuracy, The Cellist of Sarajevo shows how, when the everyday act of crossing the street can risk lives, the human spirit is revealed in all its fortitude - and frailty.



Product Description

Review

"'Though the setting is the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, this gripping novel transcends time and place. It is a universal story, and a testimony to the struggle to find meaning, grace, and humanity, even amid the most unimaginable horrors.' Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner * 'A grand and powerful novel about how people retain or reclaim their humanity when they are under extreme duress...While reading The Cellist of Sarajevo you are imaginatively there, in Sarajevo, as the mortar shells are falling and snipers are seeking to kill you as you cross a street. Your mind's eye sees, your moral sense is outraged: your full humanity is being exercised.' Yann Martel * 'Galloway's style is sparse, pared down; his prose has the deceptive simplicity of a short story. The work of an expert, The Cellist of Sarajevo is a controlled and subtle piece of craftsmanship.' - Observer * 'Startlingly good... With prose as unsentimental and deadly as gunfire, Galloway superbly captures the tense existence of a city under siege where daily tasks become a gamble between life and death, yet where a single note of music can exert a power equal to any bomb or bullet.' - Metro"

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

`Though the setting is the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, this gripping novel transcends time and place. It is a universal story, and a testimony to the struggle to find meaning, grace, and humanity, even amid the most unimaginable horrors.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 422 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307397041
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 May 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004TLNO9K
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (135 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #12,840 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Steven Galloway teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia. He lives in Vancouver with his wife, children, dog and cat.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
123 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that makes you think 24 April 2009
By Suzie
Format:Paperback
The cello, with its wonderfully rich and mellow tones, has to be one of my favourite instruments, so I was immediately drawn to this book. For a long time, though, I resisted reading it, fearing that war-torn Sarajevo would be a harrowing and morbid subject. Instead the book provided a riveting insight into the daily struggles of ordinary people caught up in a situation over which they have no control.

I hadn't realised until I read the author's Afterword that the idea for the story, itself entirely fictional, came from a true-life situation. A cellist sits at the same spot in a bombed street at the same time every day for 22 days and plays Albinoni's haunting Adagio in honour of the 22 people killed there by mortar shells while waiting to buy bread. It's a dangerous memorial - the cellist is, literally, a sitting target for snipers.

The book isn't about the cellist himself, though. It's about the inspiration and hope his music conveys to people caught up in a daily struggle to live and stay alive, as well as the tragic waste that inevitably comes with war. In many ways, this is less a novel, more a snapshot of the lives of three individuals during those 22 days. As they watch their beloved city crumble around them, services we take for granted like electricity and running water become so unreliable as to exist only in the memory, and obtaining food and fresh water becomes a matter of life and death.

Throughout the book the novelist concentrates on Kenan's efforts to carry sufficient water to last a week, both for his family and for an irascible old woman who lives downstairs and to whom he feels an obligation even though he doesn't like her.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastatingly Well Written 6 April 2009
Format:Paperback
The Cellist of Sarajevo is set during the siege of Sarajevo which took place in the 1990's although with the level of atrocities I couldn't actually believe that it had taken place so recently but then I suppose similar things are still happening now. The whole tale behind The Cellist of Sarajevo is a fictional work based on the true story of Vedran Smajlovic who actually played Adagio in G Minor for 22 days to mark the death of each of the 22 people killed in the street queuing for bread. Steven Galloway opens the book with the cellist going out and playing for the first time. However the book doesn't actually focus on him, more three particular people who have the cellist and his music enter their lives in some of the hardest times in their lives.

The three lives that we join during some of those 22 days are Dragan a man in his mid sixties, Arrow a female sniper and Kenan a man in his forties struggling without life's necessities. Each one of these characters has the cellist in their lives. Dragan for example, whose family had left Sarajevo whilst he has stayed behind to look after his apartment which sadly got bombed and now lives in his sisters house, can hear the cellist as he plays roulette with his life simply crossing the road to get to the bakers. Kenan does the same as he travels across the whole city with the possibility of being shot in order to collect fresh water as the resources are running low and he collects it for his family and neighbour (who is a wonderfully difficult disagreeable character). Arrow's story is the one that I found the most interesting, that of a female sniper who gets the job to protect the cellist from snipers and in doing so protecting the people of the city and their hope.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best ever Xmas read 31 Dec. 2009
Format:Paperback
In recent years it has been a tradition for my wife to buy books from a list I provide her with. On Xmas day in my book parcel was this one. In the evening of the day after Boxing Day I put the now read book down to think about what I had just experienced.
It was obviously a gripping read, after all I read it in two days, but how good was it? Oddly I am unsure, the authour seemed adament it was a fictional work, fine but heavens it did have a sense of reality behind it. He was insistent that the characters were also made up, again though I know people who are less believable. Maybe what I will do is put it to one side for a few months then re-read it, then come back to you. Yes it was powerful book, yes it made an impact, yes it was great value. Long term? I'll let you know.
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81 of 89 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Cellist of Sarajevo 27 May 2008
Format:Hardcover
This represented an intriguing read which is full of useful anecdotes and reminders of what it was like to be faced with sniper fire during the four year siege of this famous and celebrated city of culture, Sarajevo. The focal point of the plot is taken from the angle of three central characters which had to endure the trauma of civil war and the loss of any normality and humanity in their beloved city. The key characters are dragan, Kennan and arrow. Arrow (the sniper code-name and female) is chosen to protect the cellist from sniper fire at all costs and act therefore as a counter-sniper, thus protecting her own sense of culture and humanity in the midst of chaos. However, Kennan and dragan are different. Through their mundane experiences, such as collecting water at the other end of the city, a parallel sub-plot emerges where Galloway can comment on the trauma, uncertainty, tragedy and slaughter people had to endure in order to complete basic tasks. Both Kennan and Dragan question the meaning of their existence and the fragility of their lives as the loss of friends, via the snipers, becomes ritualised and normalised. You truly experience how hard it was for people in Yugoslavia to maintain any sense of shock when ritualised murder of innocents was so common in the 1990s. The plot thickens at the end when Galloway hangs this sense of wonder and curiosity in the plot around the cellist and arrow. The question of whether the cellist will survive from the onslaught of the snipers and be protected by arrow becomes the integral theme. An interesting read. However, a key criticism of the novel was the fact that characters are not fully developed and the ending is rather flat when you consider the build up of tension prior to the finale.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
This hasn`t downloaded to my Kindle
Published 13 hours ago by Lynne Stagg
4.0 out of 5 stars Must read
Beautifully written, visual, emotive and a future classic. Couldn't put it down. Would recommend this to all ages. Try it!
Published 2 days ago by mmd
5.0 out of 5 stars ... thought provoking account of what life must have been like in...
A really thought provoking account of what life must have been like in Sarajevo. Just makes you realise the futility of the war and the devestating impact it has.
Published 13 days ago by N. Blair
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Thought provoking read, well written recounting of a reality one wishes never to have to experience.
Published 14 days ago by M Arletti
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Superb, a riveting read, and a salutary reminder of man's inhumanity to his fellow man.
Published 16 days ago by Reginald Blundell
5.0 out of 5 stars very thought provoking and made me realise how lucky we ...
very thought provoking and made me realise how lucky we are living in this country. Hope fully a future with no war or snipers
Published 18 days ago by madeleine a smith
3.0 out of 5 stars Haunting
Having read the first few chapters, this is haunting, detailed, graphic and worrying.
Published 18 days ago by Robert T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it a long time ago, about to read ...
Read it a long time ago, about to read again as it was so powerful and has haunted me ever since. Well worth reading for an insight into the horror of their lives and God knows... Read more
Published 19 days ago by Kathy Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that will stay with me
Dave bought a copy of The Cellist of Sarajevo for our Kindle after it was recommended to him by his daughter, Carrie. Read more
Published 19 days ago by Stephanie Jane
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Ok read
Published 1 month ago by Anita
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