Although the events in this book span one month, it is about the 3 year Bosian war that began on April 6, 1992. Ironically, I finished this book on the 20th anniversary of the end of the war, April 6, 2012. http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest...
The main stage is Sarajevo, capital of Bosnia. The author did a great job in creating the backstage that allowed me to experience a brief glimpse into the hardship, sadness, killing, and hope through the eyes of three main characters.
Twenty-eight year old "Arrow" is tasked with ensuring that the cellist, who plays at the same time every day in the middle of the square where 22 people died after a sniper morter blast, remains alive so that he can play every day for 22 days.
There is 40 year old "Kenan" who every four days gathers his collection of plastic containers and travels down the hill, through the old town, across the river and up into the hills into a brewery, one of the only places in the city where a person can get drinking water. There are closer sources of water, but they are unreliable and unsafe. He doesn't want to survive the snipers in the hills only to be killed by a waterborne parasite (no functioning sewage system). He is asked by an elderly lady downstairs to get water for her as well, but her cannisters don't have handles so he's unable to tie them on to the rope he wears around his waste. Deciding how much water you can carry is crucial because if you carry too little you'll have to repeat the task more often; too much and you lose the ability to run, duck, dive, anything it takes to get out of harm's way.
And "Dragan" who reminisces about the city he grew up in. Now that all of this has happened, it's hard to see what once was or maybe was. It seems like there has never been anything here but the men on the hills with guns and bombs.
Is the cellist playing to mourn and honor those twenty men, women, and children that were killed at the exact spot where, dressed in a dirty tuxedo he places his chair at precisely 4 p.m.? Or is he providing a respite for the men on the hills, or for the people who remember what Sarajevo once once in order to give them hope?
The ending of this book really stayed with me.