The Cellist Of Sarajevo

July 16th, 2010
by Steven Galloway

I have morbid curiosity for what evil deeds humans can do to each other. The siege of Sarajevo was easily one of the most brutal wars of the late 20th century, almost as horrific as the Rawandan genocide. This small novel puts one in that terrifying time and place and asks how could one retain one’s humanity amid senseless cruelty and murder?

I assume it is essentially historically accurate.  The story behind the title is true; a cellist, Vedran Smailović, really did play for 22 sequential days in a central square of Sarajevo.

I like the technical details of the sniper’s craft here. But on the down side, the heroine’s super-power (the heroine is a sniper defending the city) almost spoiled the book for me. A sniper who can do impossible shots and never misses? And who can jump out of the path of an on-coming bullet? That’s stupid.

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