The Lizard Cage
In the sealed-off world of a vast Burmese prison known as the cage, Teza languishes in solitary confinement seven years into a twenty-year sentence. Arrested in 1988 for his involvement in mass protests, he...more
That period in Burma's history was mostly unknown to me at the time. I traveled through the country rather extensively maybe around 2005 and loved its quiet beauty and haunting spirituality. We did experience a troupe caricaturing the gov't. in a carport in Mandalay put on by the Mustache Brothers which was so funny and felt a little dangerous. One particular young boy seemed to be...more
I found the beginning chapter and the middle through the end of the book to be the pa...more
Just how oppressive the SLORC (State Law and Order Restoration Committee) has been is conveyed in harrowing and harsh detail by this remarkable novel. Karen Connelly writes the tragic yet heroic story of the Son...more
Random House of Canada|March 6, 2007|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-679-31328-1
Set during Burma’s military dictatorship of the mid-1990’s, Karen Connelly’s exquisitely written and harshly realistic debut novel is a hymn to human resilience and love.
In the sealed-off word of a vast Burmese prison known as the cage, Teza languishes in solitary confinement seven years into a twenty-year sentence. Arrested in 1988 for his involvement in mass protests, he is the nation’s most celebrat...more
I read her earlier book about Thailand and was impressed with how well it was written, especially for such a young writer. This novel is a whole new dimension. The story pulled me along with a huge desire to know - what happens next? While this was happening, I was slowing down to savour the language and the meticulous descriptions. on top of all of that, the characterization was amazing.
I loved the way she wove mindfulness int...more
The plot is centered around a political prisoner, Teza, who is serving 20 years in a Burma jail for writing songs that inspired revolutionaries. After 7 years in solitary, he starts to develop a relationship with a 12 year old child whose father worked in the prison. The boys father is killed in a car accident and the boy continues his work in the prison, running errands for inmates, delivering food trays, dumping out waste buckets...more
Hunger, filth, disease and tortuous cruelty are all daily parts of life in such a place. And you, as a reader, must go outside yourself to...more
But the author does the unexpected: she lets the story evolve and run the way it wants to. By turns...more
The carefully constructed plot hinges on two prisoners – one who is behind the bars of a cage and the other who is constrained by his own s...more
Award-winning poet and nonfiction writer Karen Connelly drew upon the two years she spent living among exiles and refugees on the Thailand-Burma border for The Lizard Cage, her debut novel. Winner of the 2007 Orange Prize for New Writers and a finalist for the Kiriyama Pacific Rim award, The Lizard Cage is a harrowing but rewarding read that abounds with compelling characterizations and evocative details. Critics almost universally admired these traits but disagreed over Connelly's use of langua...more
I appreciated that although the main character (the Songbird) had been in prison for years, he had not gone crazy (the way I think most other books would have written him). Everything he did served a purpose, however minor in his small existence. His strong mind remained intact and respectable to a degree, and his feelings were easy to understand and sympathize with. We got to see how he lived from minute to minute in such squalor and loneliness.
The writing style...more
This book is centered around the topic of political prisoners in Burma (Myanmar). It follows the story of mainly two characters: a boy and the Songbird. They face many challenges throughout the book, but there's a sense of hope that's given as well. Karen's poetic writing can be evidently see...more
By Karen Connelly (Random House)
I WASN’T expecting much when I picked up this book, but I found myself pleasantly surprised, turning pages with eager anticipation and stealing quick reads. Set in Burma, Teza “The Singer’s” protest songs against the dictatorship government incite hope in the people. But it is these songs that lead to Teza being imprisoned. In the cage, though, he is able to practice being the devout Buddha his mother would have been proud of. The Songbird’s humour...more
This is a longer, slower paced, darker story than I normally read. What pulled me through the book were the questions I had while reading it - why was Teva arrested, what was his background, what was going to happen to him, would the warden or guards exhibit any conflict in their power & position at the prison, etc. I was also interested in the basic struggle...more
Some blog posts flow more easily than others. This one has been so difficult, full of starts and stops, delete delete delete.
I guess I’m just searching for that perfect way to tell you about this book. So that I can convince you to read it. I’m not doing a very good job now am I?
Maybe I should just let the book speak for itself.
“The singer is lying on the floor, a gray blanket pulled up around his chest. With slightly narrowed eyes, h...more
This read had me in tears a few times. We are introduced to a community of prisoners and prison keepers in a jail in Burma - to victims and victimizers - to repression and to love.
For me, because of my meditation practice, the elements of Buddhism in this novel are incredibly moving and powerful. A very rich vein runni...more
This book makes me want to visit Burma because of the warmth and spiritual nature of the Burmese people. I also enjoy spending my to...more
Heartbreaking. Imagine having to weigh very carefully who you choose to connect with on even the most basic level not knowing whether a simple act of humanity will be your ultimate undoing and yet it is connection, whether to humans or other beings, that allows the unbearable to somehow be borne. This is an unforgettable story of how prisoners (many political) manage to cope and even find purpose in the most inhumane of conditions. I was swept up in the fate of...more
SECOND ATTEMPT: Okay, so after several recommendations and then movin...more