The Cellist of Sarajevo, by Steven Galloway is a work of fiction that was inspired by an actual event that occurred in Sarajevo in 1992.
In the actual story a musician, by the name of Vedran Smailovic, witnessed 22 friends and family members die from mortar fire while they were waiting to buy bread. As a memorial to these individuals he sat at the site where those 22 people had died and played his cello for 22 days honoring these people.
This story itself involves four characters: the cellist who witnesses the bombing that kills 22 people; a female sniper named Arrow whose job is to protect the cellist, but soon begins to question what her job involves; a man named Dragan, a lonely man who has sent his family away so that they would be safe, and then there is Kenan, who travels regularily on dangerous terrain to gather water for his family and neighbor.
Although the cellist plays a small role in the story, people living there begin to bond together. They meet on street corners, food stands or water gathering locations to talk, to tell others that the cellist has survived one more day without being shot.
I must admit I knew very little about the actual details that occurred in Bosnia, before reading this book. It was sad to see the shattered lives of the people, and how they tried to maintain a little piece of dignity in the face of overwhelming despair.
I would have rated this book higher, however, I found some parts seemed to drag a bit, despite the fact that there were only 256 pages to the book. Still, this book is a worthwhile read.
RATING - 4/5 - COMPLETED - 11/3/08