This site uses cookies. Learn more about cookies.

Close cookie details

OverDrive would like to use cookies to store information on your computer to improve your user experience at our Website. One of the cookies we use is critical for certain aspects of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but this could affect certain features or services of the site. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, click here to see our Privacy Policy.

If you do not wish to continue, please click here to exit this site.

Hide notification

  Main Nav

The Cellist of Sarajevo

Cover of The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo

This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted...More
This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted...More
Available formats-
  • OverDrive Read
  • Adobe EPUB eBook
Subjects-
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    4
Levels-
  • ATOS:
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
  • Reading Level:

Recommended for you


 
Description-
  • This brilliant novel with universal resonance tells the story of three people trying to survive in a city rife with the extreme fear of desperate times, and of the sorrowing cellist who plays undaunted in their midst.

    One day a shell lands in a bread line and kills twenty-two people as the cellist watches from a window in his flat. He vows to sit in the hollow where the mortar fell and play Albinoni's Adagio once a day for each of the twenty-two victims. The Adagio had been re-created from a fragment after the only extant score was firebombed in the Dresden Music Library, but the fact that it had been rebuilt by a different composer into something new and worthwhile gives the cellist hope.

    Meanwhile, Kenan steels himself for his weekly walk through the dangerous streets to collect water for his family on the other side of town, and Dragan, a man Kenan doesn't know, tries to make his way towards the source of the free meal he knows is waiting. Both men are almost paralyzed with fear, uncertain when the next shot will land on the bridges or streets they must cross, unwilling to talk to their old friends of what life was once like before divisions were unleashed on their city. Then there is "Arrow," the pseudonymous name of a gifted female sniper, who is asked to protect the cellist from a hidden shooter who is out to kill him as he plays his memorial to the victims.

    In this beautiful and unforgettable novel, Steven Galloway has taken an extraordinary, imaginative leap to create a story that speaks powerfully to the dignity and generosity of the human spirit under extraordinary duress.

    From the Hardcover edition.

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book

    The CellistIt screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort. A target expanded in size, brought into focus by time and velocity. There was a moment before impact that was the last instant of things as they were. Then the visible world exploded.

    In 1945, an Italian musicologist found four bars of a sonata's bass line in the remnants of the firebombed Dresden Music Library. He believed these notes were the work of the seventeenth-century Venetian composer Tomaso Albinoni, and spent the next twelve years reconstructing a larger piece from the charred manuscript fragment. The resulting composition, known as Albinoni's Adagio, bears little resemblance to most of Albinoni's work and is considered fraudulent by most scholars. But even those who doubt its authenticity have difficulty denying the Adagio's beauty.

    Nearly half a century later, it's this contradiction that appeals to the cellist. That something could be almost erased from existence in the landscape of a ruined city, and then rebuilt until it is new and worthwhile, gives him hope. A hope that, now, is one of a limited number of things remaining for the besieged citizens of Sarajevo and that, for many, dwindles each day.

    And so today, like every other day in recent memory, the cellist sits beside the window of his second-floor apartment and plays until he feels his hope return. He rarely plays the Adagio. Most days he's able to feel the music rejuvenate him as simply as if he were filling a car with gasoline. But some days this isn't the case. If, after several hours, this hope doesn't return, he will pause to gather himself, and then he and his cello will coax Albinoni's Adagio out of the firebombed husk of Dresden and into the mortar-pocked, sniper-infested streets of Sarajevo. By the time the last few notes fade, his hope will be restored, but each time he's forced to resort to the Adagio it becomes harder, and he knows its effect is finite. There are only a certain number of Adagios left in him, and he will not recklessly spend this precious currency.

    It wasn't always like this. Not long ago the promise of a happy life seemed almost inviolable. Five years ago at his sister's wedding, he'd posed for a family photograph, his father's arm slung behind his neck, fingers grasping his shoulder. It was a firm grip, and to some it would have been painful, but to the cellist it was the opposite. The fingers on his flesh told him that he was loved, that he had always been loved, and that the world was a place where above all else the things that were good would find a way to burrow into you. Though he knew all of this then, he would give up nearly anything to be able to go back in time and slow down that moment, if only so he could more clearly recall it now. He would very much like to feel his father's hand on his shoulder again.

    He can tell today won't be an Adagio day. It has been only a half-hour since he sat down beside the window, but already he feels a little bit better. Outside, a line of people wait to buy bread. It's been over a week since the market's had any bread to buy, and he considers whether he might join them. Many of his friends and neighbours are in line. He decides against it, for now. There's still work to do.

    It screamed downward, splitting air and sky without effort. A target expanded in size, brought into focus by time and velocity. There was a moment before impact that was the last instant of things as they were. Then the visible world exploded.

    When the mortars destroyed the Sarajevo Opera Hall, the cellist felt as if he were inside the building, as if the bricks and glass that once bound the structure together became projectiles that sliced...

About the Author-
  • Steven Galloway is the author of Finnie Walsh, Ascension and The Cellist of Sarajevo. He teaches creative writing at the University of British Columbia, and lives with his wife and two young daughters in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Reviews-
  • Dragan Todorovic, author of The Book of Revenge

    "For historians, the siege of Sarajevo might seem the appropriate finale of the century that invented world wars, nuclear arms and planet destruction. That is precisely the reason why Sarajevo should belong to artists and not experts. In this vivid, passionate and generous novel Galloway takes us there, to the very streets of the besieged city. Snipers above us, cameras among us, shards of dreams beneath us, and each wrong step can lead to death or, worse, loss of dignity."

  • Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland and Paradise Alley "Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo is a wonderful story, a tribute to the human spirit in the face of insanity."
  • J. M. Coetzee "A gripping story of Sarajevo under siege."
  • Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns "Though the setting is the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, this gripping novel transcends time and place. It is a universal story, and a testimony to the struggle to find meaning, grace, and humanity, even amid the most unimaginable horrors."
  • Emily Donaldson, Quill & Quire (starred review) "Steven Galloway is a precocious writer of astonishing talent and creative imagination whose third novel lives up, in every respect, to the high bar set by his first two. The Cellist of Sarajevo captures with taut, painstaking clarity the events and atmosphere surrounding the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s. . . . Galloway once again shows himself to be as gifted as he is fearless. If it weren't for the fact that he teaches creative writing, I'd say it was time to give up his day job."
  • Owen Sound Sun Times "A darkly powerful novel about the insanity of war, the anonymous dying of a city under siege. Written with elegance and style, it is an unforgettable story about our limitless human spirit in a time of tragedy."
  • The Guelph Mercury "A story that speaks to the dignity and generosity of the human spirit under duress."
  • National Post "Gripping. . . . Every action, no matter how mundane, is charged with tension. . . . Galloway has shown that contemporary fiction can move beyond the minute examination of self and relationship. We are asked to gaze, instead, on a city, a society, in the process of being destroyed, and on the tiny human gestures that represent the only means to repair the damage."
  • Booklist "Although Galloway's characters weigh the value of their lives against the choices they must make, he effectively creates a fifth character in the city itself, capturing the details among the rubble and destruction that give added weight to his memorable novel."
  • The Sydney Morning Herald "Undeniably suspenseful."
  • Yann Martel's pick for www.whatisstephenharperreading.ca "A grand and powerful novel about how people retain or reclaim their humanity when they are under extreme duress."
  • Publishe "Galloway delivers a tense and haunting novel. . . . With wonderfully drawn characters and a stripped-down narrative, Galloway brings to life a distant conflict."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Knopf Canada
  • OverDrive Read
    Release date:
  • Adobe EPUB eBook
    Release date:
Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.
powered by OverDrive

You've reached your checkout limit.

Visit your Bookshelf to manage your titles.

×

You already have this title checked out.

Want to go to your Bookshelf?

×

Recommendation Limit Reached.

You have reached the maximum number of titles you are permitted to recommend at this time.

×

Sign in to recommend this title.

Recommend your library consider adding this title to the Digital Collection.

×
×

×

To recommend The Cellist of Sarajevo, complete the following information:

*indicates required information

(comma separates multiple email addresses, i.e. bob@aol.com, bob@hotmail.com)

Subject: Check out this downloadable title at the Calgary Public Library


We respect your privacy. Any and all information collected at this site will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, reused, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed.

×
Recommend this title to the library to be added to the Digital Collection
The Cellist of Sarajevo
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
×
Buy it now
and help our library WIN!
The Cellist of Sarajevo
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Choose a retail partner below to buy this title for yourself.
A portion of this purchase goes to support your library.
×
×

To recommend '', complete the following information:

*indicates required information

(comma separates multiple email addresses, i.e. bob@aol.com, bob@hotmail.com)

Subject: Check out this downloadable title at the Calgary Public Library

We respect your privacy. Any and all information collected at this site will be kept strictly confidential and will not be sold, reused, rented, loaned, or otherwise disclosed.

×