The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo

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A spare and haunting, wise and intelligent novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo is a testament to the endurance of the spirit and the subtle ways individuals reclaim their humanity in a city ravaged by war.

In a city under siege, four people whose lives have been upended are ultimately reminded of what it is to be human. From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbours killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the attack for twenty-two days in their memory.

Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and in the face of danger must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was.

As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character - a young woman, a sniper - holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. While she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become.

A novel of great intensity and power. The Cellist of Sarajevo explores how war can change one's definition of humanity, how music affects our emotional endurance, and how a romance with the rituals of daily life can itself be a form of resistance.