The Cage by award winning New Zealand author Lloyd Jones is a small book that packs a large punch and is one that people will be talking about for a long time.
Pageturners enjoyed a great discussion that unpacked the many layers of this novel. They talked about the “trustees”, the narrator, the woman in the hat, the strangers, why and how they came to be in a cage, the publican, the narrator’s family, parallels with visits to the zoo, the behaviour of the strangers, the behaviour of the townspeople as well as parts of the story that were realistic and others that were not.
Themes included identity, empathy, refugees, hope, trauma, cruelty, compassion, alienation, torture, conflict, trust, cleanliness, integration, compliance and belonging.
Comments included “easy to read, enjoyed the turn of phrase, didn’t understand it, it made no sense, it was a work of art, was confronting, some descriptions were beautiful, made a lot of points very thoroughly, shocking, disgusting, people were not nice to each other, weird story, depressing, well drawn characters and made a point.”
A key part of the novel is when exactly do we become complicit when something terrible is happening. Here is a notable quote from the book:
“And when I lock eyes with it I see that I am part of the problem that I am implicated in its suffering.”
Pageturners gave the book an average of 3 stars from 5 with a couple of 4s in the list.
About the author:
The Hub on Books ABC RN 15 min interview with Lloyd Jones:
Article on refugees in Budapest 2015:
The next book for discussion is the latest novel by Australian author Tim Winton The Shepherd’s Hut to be discussed on Wednesday 9th May at 5.30pm.