The Lizard Cage
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The Lizard Cage

4.23 (2,266 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

Teza once electrified the people of Burma with his protest songs against the dictatorship. Arrested by the Burmese secret police in the days of mass protest, he is seven years into a twenty-year sentence in solitary confinement, cut off from his family and contact with other prisoners. Enduring the harsh conditions with resourcefulness, Buddhist patience and humour, he searches for news and human connection in every being and object that is grudgingly allowed into his cell. Despite his isolation, Teza has a profound influence on the world of the cage. He inspires the conscience-ridden senior jailer to radical change. His very existence challenges the brutal authority of Handsome, the junior jailer. Even though his server, the criminal Sein Yun, sees compromising the singer as a ticket out of jail, Teza befriends him, risking falling into the trap of forbidden conversation, food and the most dangerous contraband of all, paper and pen. Lastly there's Little Brother, an orphan child growing up inside the walls. Teza and the boy are prisoners of different orders, but their extraordinary friendship frees both of them in utterly surprising ways. Overturning our expectations, Karen Connelly presents us with a mystifying world that celebrates the human spirit, and spirit itself, in the midst of injustice and violence.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 131 x 199 x 28mm | 311g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • VINTAGE
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 009950247X
  • 9780099502470
  • 89,035

Review quote

"So consummate is Karen Connelly's skill in The Lizard Cage that elements [of the life of a political prisoner in Burma] compel us to keep turning the pages. Her writing is muscular and taut, bringing inmates and warders fully alive. Impressive" * New York Times * "Expertly constructed, often harrowing thriller" * Guardian * "A chilling and powerful story" * Times Literary Supplement * "In a feat of epic vision, Karen Connelly uses her every art to tell the urgent story of what the New York Times calls "Myanmar, arguably the most repressive regime in the world". The suspense never relents. Hope is small, but it lives, strengthened by this powerful book." -- Maxine Hong Kingston "Connelly reminds me of Latin American writers and poets like Pablo Neruda, who wrote so eloquently about the ills of their homelands. Like these writers, too, Connelly finds beauty and kindness and the potential for redemption in the most unexpected places." * Toronto Globe and Mail *show more

About Karen Connelly

Karen Connelly is the author of seven books of poetry and non-fiction. Her first book of prose, Touch the Dragon: A Thai Journal, won the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction in 1993 and was a New York Times Notable Travel Book of the Year. Raised in Calgary, Connelly has lived for extended periods in different parts of Asia and Europe, and now divides her time between rural Greece, travels in Asia and her home in Toronto.show more

Review Text

"Connelly reminds me of Latin American writers and poets like Pablo Neruda, who wrote so eloquently about the ills of their homelands. Like these writers, too, Connelly finds beauty and kindness and the potential for redemption in the most unexpected places."show more

Rating details

2,266 ratings
4.23 out of 5 stars
5 47% (1,063)
4 35% (801)
3 13% (299)
2 3% (69)
1 2% (34)
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