Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

My rating:  4.8

I read this previously but I picked it for an upcoming book club and wanted to reread it. I loved it just as much the second time. A tense and haunting novel following four people - Arrow, Kenan, Dragon and the Cellis - all trying to survive war-torn Sarajevo.

After a mortar attack kills 22 people waiting in line to buy bread, an unnamed cellist vows to play at the point of impact for 22 days. Arrow, a young woman sniper, picks off soldiers; Kenan makes a dangerous trek to get water for his family; and Dragan, who sent his wife and son out of the city at the start of the war, works at a bakery and trades bread in exchange for shelter. All the while, the cellist continues to play.

With wonderfully drawn characters and a stripped-down narrative, Galloway brings to life a distant conflict. It makes you feel what it would be like to have war come to your city.

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