Monday, September 14, 2009

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

It's the height of the siege on Sarajevo and Galloway tells the story of three different people living in the city and how war affects their life. Kenan's story is about how troublesome it is to get water in a city under fire. At every intersection, Kenan fears for his life and sees others die as they are picked off by snipers in the hill. Kenan gets water for himself and his elderly neighbour and is upset by what his city has become.

Dragan has managed to get his family out of the city but remains there. While going to buy bread he sees someone that he knew before the war and catches up with her, then watches a horrific scene unfold before him.

Finally, there's Arrow, one of the best snipers in Sarajevo. She's gotten away with choosing her own targets and taking out the men on the hills as she chooses, however when she is finally given an objective her perspective changes. After a bombing at the bread store, killing 22 people, a cellist decides to pay at that site for the next 22 days. Arrow is told to protect the cellist from any attacks.

The climax in this book was very subtle, which I'm usually not a fan of, but the entire premise of the book was very interesting. Reading about what it's like to live in a war zone is quite scary and it's no wonder that the character started to zone out from life after a while.

I did have problems remembering the differences between Kenan and Dragan at the beginning but eventually got into the groove of the book. It had a strong message and one that was communicated in an understandable way.

First Line: "It screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort."



No comments: