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The Cellist of Sarajevo

Narrated by: Gareth Armstrong
Length: 5 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

Non-member price: $20.51

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Publisher's Summary

Sarajevo, in the 1990s, is a hellish place. The ongoing war devours human life, tears families apart and transforms even banal routines, such as acquiring water, into life-threatening expeditions. Day after day, a cellist stations himself in the midst of the devastation, defying the ever-present snipers to play tributes to victims of a massacre. A true story of a cellist's resistance helps to form this pivotal event in Steven Galloway's extraordinary novel. Against this, the author touchingly describes three ordinary townspeople and their efforts to retain their humanity, sanity and autonomy as war takes hold of their lives. This bestselling novel is immediate, vivid and deeply affecting on audiobook, fully immersing the listener in the havoc of war.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

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Profile Image for Elaine
  • Elaine
  • 22-11-2012

One wonders if humans will ever be civilized

I'm very pleased to have the experience of this book. The cello music adds much to this particular story. It gives room for thought when the voice of the cello is there instead of the words.

The book is well crafted to make one think. The performance is excellent.

Could I be the cellist? What kind of life is my life? How would I behave? What makes any of us worthy of life, love, food, water, music? With war everywhere in all times, one can almost feel the weight of evil pushing from all directions. This book takes ideas of life, hope, and fear and braids them into some understanding of what war really is.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lynnore
  • 22-06-2011

Engrossing and Enlightening

I got this audiobook on the recommendation of a friend. I was glad I did. An enlightening look on the history and atrocities that took place in Sarajevo. At times truly sad, at other times bright spots of humor that showed humanity can still exist even in the most inhumane of situations.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stevon
  • 01-09-2016

war never makes sense

First time author for me, a novella of sorts. In the 1990's the Balkan peninsula fell into war and long standing hatreds came to life. Much of it didn't make sense and still doesn't.

In this book, the city of Sarajevo, which is in Bosnia, was surrounded by the Serbian army who sat in the hills surrounding the city and laid siege, lobbing bombs and having snipers shoot the Bosnians stuck in the city.

In one instance, and this is a true event, a mortar struck a line of people standing in line doing nothing more than trying to get bread for their families and them to east. 22 people were killed. A cellist, who saw the explosion from his apartment, in an act of defiance to the war, starts sitting in the street where the explosion happened, in full view of everyone even the enemy, and states he will play his cello for 22 straight days, a day for each of the victims. This is that story although the main characters are some of those people also affected by the war and how they responded to the craziness all around them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Lynne R.
  • Lynne R.
  • 30-10-2015

Eye opening

This story, although fiction, is based on The Siege of Sarajevo by the Bosnian Serbs in 1992 - 1996. It's descriptive of difficulties, fears and disruption of everyday life which cause changes in the view of life in the three narrators. I did some googling about this war, so reading this book became an educational experience. The reader was easy to understand and voiced the characters very convincingly.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Joan
  • Joan
  • 05-11-2012

The story comes alive!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, Because hearing the music of the Cellist in the background brought the story alive and set the mood for the story.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Arrow. She was a fighter and didn't just accept her situation. She was brave to the end.

Which character – as performed by Gareth Armstrong – was your favorite?

Arrow.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was saddened by the reality and the emotions of the individual characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jeffery
  • 16-07-2015

Moving, well told story

Beautifully depicts daily moral choices by individuals, altering the course of a city under siege back toward civilized existence.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret
  • 21-01-2013

Man' Inhumanity to Man

Sad reflection on the human's inability to stop wars and the book demonstrates how close to the "brink" a civilized society can be.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dan
  • 21-02-2013

It just wandered off and didn't really conclude

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

I don't know

Would you ever listen to anything by Steven Galloway again?

Maybe but this story really just seemed to drag and there didn't seem to be a connection between the various stories

What didn’t you like about Gareth Armstrong’s performance?

it was overly dramatic and i had to speed up the playback setting

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The time period and the conflict in Bosnia is still a very interesting topic to me

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lulu
  • 28-03-2019

The Decisions of War

The individual stories of Sarajevo's citizens bring the reality of war to light....the understanding as to why some fight, some hide, and some are defiant. A simple act of cello playing for 22 days for each of the killed citizens...even as snipers threaten to kill him...brings each of the other individuals to decide how they will mindfullly...not mindlessly...respond to war.

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Profile Image for Barbara D Wright
  • Barbara D Wright
  • 18-05-2018

A moving tale of the horror of war and human dreams of and peace

This book is incredibly moving. Very sad. But uplifting at the same time. I am happy to have heard it on audible thee addition of the cello between chapters adds a note of sadness as well as beauty. The reader is excellent with exactly the right into nations. Such a testament against war.