Top positive review
A Haunting Story
on May 23, 2009
"The Cellist of Sarajevo" is a brief but resonating novel that takes the reader to the heart of a city devastated by war. The story centers around a cellist who, after a deadly mortar attack that kills 22 people waiting in line for bread, vows to play his cello at the scene of the attack for 22 days in a row. He does so in spite of the grave danger of being killed: in this city, even a trip to get water for the family can prove fatal as snipers hide in the surrounding hills and mortars fall with regularity.
The cellist's music impacts, in some way, the other three characters in the novel: one a sniper, another a young father, and another in his 60s. The characters struggle to reconcile the Sarajevo of their pasts, with the hollowed out war zone of the present. The novel is ultimately a testament to the impact of war on ordinary citizens, and the presence of courage in unlikely places. It earned a 5 star rating from me because, like the songs of the cellist in the title, it was brief but profound.