Monday, March 20, 2023

Hilton Head Island: THE CELLIST OF SARAJEVO: the other Webb


Above is the beginning of an exceptionally powerful and troubling novel by Steven Galloway.  It is proceeded by a quote from Tolstoy:  You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

I know and enjoy Albinoni’s Adagio, as I am sure many of you do, but I did not know its history.

The novel is set in Sarajevo’s last war.  At least I think it was their last war.  There are so many wars it is hard to keep track.  The novel is centered on a true experience.  Here is part of the afterward.

I googled and the siege of Sarajevo by the Serbian Army took place from 1992 to 1996 and is the longest siege in modern European history. 

Sarajevo is surrounded by hills and in the novel the Serbs are simply referred to as the men in the hills.  From their elevated vantage points they rained shells on the city and had snipers who killed many of those who ventured onto the streets.

The novel follows three of the trapped residents of Sarajevo:  a young woman who herself is a talented sniper and fires back at the men in the hills.  A man who still works in a bakery.  Another man who has to run the gauntlet of mortars and snipers to fetch water for his family and a neighbor from an underground well.

The Serbs are aware of the cellist.  They send a man to kill him.  The young woman is assigned to protect him.

These are normal people caught up in a disaster not of their making, as so many have been during the troubled history of our species, as millions now are in Ukraine.

Maybe a great novel.  Certainly a very good one.  I’ve already bought another of Steven Galloway’s books.

I thank James for a link to a 5 minute video of images sent by the James Webb telescope during its first year.  They are beautiful and beyond imagination.

Knowing she would not read this journal entry, I sent the link to Carol.  Her reply brought a smile.

“It is wonderful that they named the telescope after you.  You always said that you go to the edge and send back reports.”

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