Amy Reads Books

The Cellist of Sarajevo

The Cellist of Sarajevo - Steven Galloway The Cellist of Sarajevo is Steven Galloway's first novel to be published in the UK back in 2008, although it is his third novel overall. Set during the siege of Sarajevo, at the height of the Bosnia/Serbia conflict, which lasted for around four years, Galloway uses a real life event to inspire his novel discussing three people dealing with the conflict.The opening chapter was incredibly well written-the repetition throughout was really clever-but it perhaps set the bar a little too high as the rest of the novel did not quite hit the same level for me. I felt that Galloway captured the nervousness of the city, and it was really eye-opening (as I know relatively little about the siege) to see the strain and pressure that the people in the city were going through. However, with such hardships I was expecting to feel more moved by work; but I just didn't feel myself getting too emotionally involved-the closest was with the horrifying description of a bombing towards the end of the book.I think perhaps the reason that I didn't quite connect was the way in which the novel was told. It flicked between three different viewpoints, and whilst I normally really enjoy split viewpoints I felt like it didn't really work with all three. There wasn't a great deal of difference between them all; and I felt that the Dragan subplot could be totally removed with little detriment to the novel-his character basically seemed to exist for just one conversation-I felt his nervousness was well combined within the Kenan story. Arrow was an interesting character, inasmuch as it was interesting to see a girl being part of the military effort, especially as she was so young.Whilst The Cellist of Sarajevo is by no means a bad book, and there are numerous really favourable reviews out there, it just didn't seem to quite hit the heights it hinted at early on. However, I do really appreciate it opening my eyes to the Sarajevo conflict, and it presented a lot of ideas about war and peace in a really accessible way.