Saturday, September 12, 2009
"The Cellist of Sarajevo" by Steven Galloway
Centered on the conflict in Sarajevo, the story is recounting the struggle of three inhabitants during the city's siege during the mid 1990's: a female sniper called Arrow, Kenan a father on a trip to get water for his family and his neighbour and Dragan, a baker on his way to work. Uniting the story threads is a renowned cellist who witnessed the killed 22 people while they were waiting in line to buy bread. To commemorate each victim, he decided to play his instrument once a day in the crater left by the mortar shell.
This work of fiction highlights the harsh situations ordinary people are forced to endure during the time of civil unrest and how they adapt in order to survive. How each individual controls hate and tries to remain human facing the horrific atrocities of war.
Mr Galloway avoided labelling his main characters with ethnic qualifications by simply naming them Sarajevans and calling their enemies "the men on the hills". The prose is exquisite and quite moving; it is difficult to avoid wondering how one would react under similar circumstances. This is one brilliant tale that chronicles the evils of war and draws attention to the courage and spirit people inherently have within them.
This is one strong, powerful and utterly amazing novel.