All Pikes Peak Reads 2013 - The Cellist of Sarajevo

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The Cellist of Sarajevo is a gripping portrait of a city under siege, the small acts of humanity that come to renew it, and from the ashes, the rising, redemptive grace notes of one musician.

After witnessing a shelling that takes the lives of twenty-two civilians outside his window, a man decides he will play at the site of the attack for twenty-two days in tribute, to mark their deaths in a city bombarded relentlessly by surprise attacks and sniper fire.

Elsewhere in the city, a young man leaves home to gather clean drinking water for his family—a perilous mission that forces him to weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism.

A third man, older, sets out in search of bread and distraction, and instead runs into a friend from the past who reminds him of the city he has lost, and the man he once was.

As each is drawn into the web and center of the mournful adagio, a female sniper holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. While she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become.
A novel of great intensity and power, The Cellist of Sarajevo is a testament to the endurance of the spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim their humanity in a time of war.

About Steven Galloway

Steven Galloway lives in British Columbia and teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia.

Discussion Guide

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Book Reviews:

Book Review: The Cellist of Sarajevo
Galloway, Steven
4 stars = Really Good

This was a fast read. I enjoyed it, but I can't say that I enjoyed it. Meaning it was hard to read a novel that brought to life what a war can do to people and how they have to live. I liked all of the characters, but I liked Kenan and Dragen the best. They were just two men trying to survive and not be shot by snipers as they tried to get water and bread. I was engrossed when their stories were told. Overall a good book. Highly recommended.

Book Review: The Cellist of Sarajevo
Galloway, Steven
4 stars = Really Good

A compelling narative through the eyes of the individuals effected by the war. Each had a deeply emotional pull on how we live and deal with such trauma.

I recommend this as an eye opener for anyone seeking the perspective of others who've had to endure hardships in their lives.

Book Review: The Cellist of Sarajevo
Galloway, Steven
3 stars = Pretty Good

This book didn't grip me like I expected it to. It was a good book, but because it was fiction I had a hard time really believing that that could have happened in real life. It made me want to know more about the siege of Sarajevo. I'm still not sure why it happened.