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The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

The Cellist of Sarajevo (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Steven Galloway

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,0231983,310 (4.07)419
Title:The Cellist of Sarajevo
Authors:Steven Galloway (Author)
Info:Riverhead Trade (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 256 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, Bosnia, Yugoslav War

Work details

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway (2008)

  1. 110
    Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (wisewoman)
    wisewoman: In both books, music is a character in its own right, set against a backdrop of human violence and tragedy.
  2. 101
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Alliebadger)
    Alliebadger: Both beautifully written accounts of atrocities we never really think about. Each one is a fast and amazing read.
  3. 30
    Pretty Birds by Scott Simon (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Many parallels between The Cellist of Sarajevo and Pretty Birds; the information on the Bosnian civil war in Pretty Birds is more complete and the writing is very good.
  4. 30
    The Siege by Helen Dunmore (gennyt)
    gennyt: Both are stories of cities under siege, and the struggles of ordinary people for survival in dangerous and extreme conditions.
  5. 20
    The Bridge on the Drina by Ivo Andrić (whymaggiemay)
    whymaggiemay: Get a more full history of the conflict from this book.
  6. 00
    Floating in My Mother's Palm by Ursula Hegi (VivienneR)
  7. 00
    Girl at War by Sara Novic (Iudita)
  8. 00
    Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War II Aviator by Samuel Hynes (napgeorge)
    napgeorge: Two books which show the boredom and horror of war. The only two books I have read which reflect what war felt like for me.
  9. 11
    The Archivist's Story by Travis Holland (catherinestead)
    catherinestead: Two gripping portrayals of human reaction to living in a permanent state of tension and danger.
  10. 00
    Between Mountains by Maggie Helwig (yagoder)
  11. 00
    Ritournelle de la faim by Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio (Cecilturtle)
  12. 00
    Det dobbelte land : roman by Birgithe Kosovi´c (2810michael)
    2810michael: På dansk: Cellisten fra Sarajevo
  13. 01
    The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian (Iudita)
    Iudita: Another intense,personal story within the chaos of a war zone.

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» See also 419 mentions

English (192)  German (2)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  Norwegian (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (198)
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
235 pages


I picked up this book when I found out my library district was having the author for a reading in lecture, so I thought “why not?”. I was not disappointed at all. The book surrounds the lives of 4 people during the Siege of Sarajevo. Even though the author is from Canada, he did extensive research in attempting to make most of the background story as accurate as possible (he admits to changing some timelines for storytelling purposes). It is a beautiful story that had me sucked in right away. I found myself invested in these characters – wondering where they would end up, terrified that they would be killed, and holding my breath on their treks from one place to another. I admit to knowing very little about the Siege of Sarajevo (with the whole me being 6 when it started) and while this wasn’t a true story, it was an eye opener for me. I look forward to doing more reading on this tragic part of history. It’s a short book at 235 pages and definitely worth the read.
( )
  UberButter | Feb 9, 2016 |
This is a beautiful book.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Incredibly real, chilling, haunting, deeply moving and very, very relavant. ( )
  SabinaE | Jan 23, 2016 |
Wonderfully written first book. As I was reading I kept thinking how awful it would be to live in a city under siege and still have hope for the future. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Wonderfully written first book. As I was reading I kept thinking how awful it would be to live in a city under siege and still have hope for the future. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 192 (next | show all)
Canadian Galloway (Ascension) delivers a tense and haunting novel following four people trying to survive war-torn Sarajevo. .... With wonderfully drawn characters and a stripped-down narrative, Galloway brings to life a distant conflict.
added by SimoneA | editPublishers Weekly (Feb 6, 2008)
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You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you. - Leon Trotsky
for lara
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It screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort.
It screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort. A target expanded in size, brought into focus by time and velocity. There was a moment before impact that was the last image of things as they were. Then the visible world exploded.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307397041, Paperback)

This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst.

One day a shell lands in a bread line and kills twenty-two people as the cellist watches from a window in his flat. He vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni’s Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims. The Adagio had been re-created from a fragment after the only extant score was firebombed in the Dresden Music Library, but the fact that it had been rebuilt by a different composer into something new and worthwhile gives the cellist hope.

Meanwhile, Kenan steels himself for his weekly walk through the dangerous streets to collect water for his family on the other side of town, and Dragan, a man Kenan doesn’t know, tries to make his way towards the source of the free meal he knows is waiting. Both men are almost paralyzed with fear, uncertain when the next shot will land on the bridges or streets they must cross, unwilling to talk to their old friends of what life was once like before divisions were unleashed on their city. Then there is “Arrow,” the pseudonymous name of a gifted female sniper, who is asked to protect the cellist from a hidden shooter who is out to kill him as he plays his memorial to the victims.

In this beautiful and unforgettable novel, Steven Galloway has taken an extraordinary, imaginative leap to create a story that speaks powerfully to the dignity and generosity of the human spirit under extraordinary duress.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:45 -0400)

While a cellist plays at the site of a mortar attack to commemorate the deaths of twenty-two friends and neighbors, two other men set out in search of bread and water to keep themselves alive, and a woman sniper secretly protects the life of the cellist as her army becomes increasingly threatening.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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