Friday, May 30, 2008

The Cellist of Sarajevo


Quickie Recap: The cellist watches as a shell explodes in a crowd of people waiting to buy bread to fill their empty bellies. He vows to play his cello at the scene every day for 22 days - one concert for every person who perished that day, just one day of the very long and bloody siege in Sarajevo.
Quickie Review: A few pages in, I wasn't overly impressed. It seemed depressing and gray to me, and I wasn't excited to read it. But I'm glad I did. It's not just another story about a war. It's a story about hope, and about inspiration. It's not even really about the cellist, but how his small tribute to the dead actually touched those still among the living. The startling juxtaposition of a sliver of beauty amid so much ugliness and destruction arrests not just the other characters, but the reader as well. Each situation poses a new moral question that is difficult to answer, and in fact impossible to answer until you're there, and you're actually forced to choose.
Quickie recommendation: It's lovely to read about strength in Sarajevo, but there is also a universality to this novel that would speak to everyone and anyone.

4 comments:

Steven W. Beattie said...

One of the best novels I've read so far this year.

Steve said...

I saw this and almost got it...I will have to pick it up.

Lorna said...

Like Steve, I saw this book; I touched it, flipped through a few pages, and put it back. Now it's on my "aren't you ashamed?" list

Jay said...

Yes Lorna, I have a list like that too. I have lots of long, long lists.