The Cellist of Sarajevo A stripped-down depiction of the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, The Cellist of Sarajevo follows a female sniper, a bakery worker, and a young… The Cellist of Sarajevo A stripped-down depiction of the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, The Cellist of Sarajevo follows a female sniper, a bakery worker, and a young… 2008-05-15 Fiction War Riverhead
Book Review

The Cellist of Sarajevo (2008)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: May 15, 2008; Writer: Steven Galloway; Genres: Fiction, War; Publisher: Riverhead

A stripped-down depiction of the siege of Sarajevo in the 1990s, The Cellist of Sarajevo follows a female sniper, a bakery worker, and a young father as they separately wander the once-idyllic city. Steven Galloway uses admirable restraint — the shelling of a crowded water station becomes all the more horrible. But the narrative falters with the title cellist, who plays daily in the street to commemorate victims of a mortar attack. Loosely based on a real figure from the Bosnian war, he's a vague symbol of resolve — an inspiring idea but not nearly as compelling as Galloway's other, richer characters. B+

Originally posted May 16, 2008 Published in issue #992-993 May 23, 2008 Order article reprints