From Publishers Weekly
Canadian Galloway (Ascension
) delivers a tense and haunting novel following four people trying to survive war-torn Sarajevo. After a mortar attack kills 22 people waiting in line to buy bread, an unnamed cellist vows to play at the point of impact for 22 days. Meanwhile, Arrow, a young woman sniper, picks off soldiers; Kenan makes a dangerous trek to get water for his family; and Dragan, who sent his wife and son out of the city at the start of the war, works at a bakery and trades bread in exchange for shelter. Arrow's assigned to protect the cellist, but when she's eventually ordered to commit a different kind of killing, she must decide who she is and why she kills. Dragan believes he can protect himself through isolation, but that changes when he runs into a friend of his wife's attempting to cross a street targeted by snipers. Kenan is repeatedly challenged by his fear and a cantankerous neighbor. All the while, the cellist continues to play. With wonderfully drawn characters and a stripped-down narrative, Galloway brings to life a distant conflict. (May)
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Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo is set in war-torn Sarajevo in the Nineties. When 22 civilians are killed as they queue for water a cellist determines to play the piece of music that gives him the most hope, Tomaso Albinoni s Adagio in G minor, at the same spot every day for 22 days in their memory. Meanwhile, three other Sarajevans live their lives in constant peril. Kenan, frightened but determined to make the dangerous, daily journey to fetch water for his family; Dragan, who has to cross the city to get to the bakery where he works; and Arrow, the nom de guerre of a young sniper assigned to protect the cellist. Wonderfully moving. --Kati Nicholl, Express.co.uk<br /><br />Why did the Sarajevan cross the road? To get to the other side without fatally exposing himself to sniper fire. In Sarajevo, the city that was under siege for three hellish years in the early 1990s, every excursion outside was a risk. 'Sniper alley' wasn't just the road that international journalists took between the airport and the Holiday Inn, reflects Kenan, one of the three intertwined characters enduring the almost unendurable in this novel. Kenan braves the streets to collect water for his family; Dragan has to go to the bakery where he works; and Arrow is on a mission to pick off with her rifle the gunmen aiming at her area. Amid it all, a cellist emerges daily to play Albinoni's Adagio at the spot where the enemy wiped out a bread queue a real event around which Galloway has created this intimate chamber-piece novel. Strains of the haunting work, played by Sarah Butcher in a specially made recording, add to the book s power to move. --Karen Robinson, Sunday Times<br /><br />Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo is an elegant fictional embroidery of a true protest: that of the cellist Vedran Smailovic, who mourned the deaths of 22 people who were queuing outside a shop when a missile struck them by playing Albinoni's Adagio on the same spot on 22 successive days, despite the ubiquitous snipers. The novel shows how the cellist s protest affects other people's struggles with their consciences. One is a sniper who finds that her task of protecting the cellist presents her with ethical problems. Gareth Armstrong narrates with impeccable pace and timing, beautifully counter-pointed by Sarah Butcher's playing of Albinoni's music. --Christina Hardyment, The Times
In 1990s Sarajevo, war is devouring people's lives. In the midst of this vividly conveyed hell of massacre and destruction, one cellist braves the snipers to play his tribute to the dead. This is based on a true story and includes Albinoni's haunting Adagio. --Rachel Redford, The Observer
The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway, read by Gareth Armstrong. In this novel inspired by the true story of a cellist facing extreme danger during the siege of Sarajevo, the music referred to was an arrangement of Albinoni s famous Adagio. For the audio book, English cellist Sarah Butcher, who plays for Glyndebourne Opera and the London Mozart Players, plays the work and adds background music to the narration. --- Shannon Maughan, Publishers Weekly