The Cage Discussion

The Cage (Small)

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.


April Pageturners RSVP

The Cage (Small)

Don’t forget to RSVP for Pageturners Book Discussion Group Wednesday evening at Orange City Library from 5.30pm to 7pm via eventbrite.

There will be lots to talk about and discuss with Lloyd Jones’ latest book The Cage.

Here are some reviews to get you thinking along some life themes:

SMH Review:

STUFF NZ Review:

 The Spinoff NZ review:

See you soon!



April Pageturners Read

The Cage (Small)

The book for the 11th April discussion at Orange City Library at 5.30pm is The Cage by Lloyd Jones.

Two mysterious strangers appear at a hotel in a small country town. Where have they come from? Who are they? What catastrophe are they fleeing? The townspeople want answers, but the strangers are unable to speak of their trauma. And before long, wary hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear, and the care of the men slides into appalling cruelty. Lloyd Jones’s fable-like novel The Cage is a profound and unsettling novel about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we’re able to justify brutality.

Lloyd Jones has written novels, short stories and a memoir. He won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for his novel Mister Pip. His other books include Hand Me Down World and A History of Silence. Lloyd lives in Wellington, NZ.

Praise for Lloyd Jones and The Cage:

‘A profound and unsettling allegorical fable…Its powerful message camouflaged by almost fairytale simplicity. The Cage explores how quickly humanity and dignity can segue into brutality when communication breaks down. Trust is revealed as fragile, forever at the mercy of authoritarian impulse.’ Qantas Magazine

‘Its mastery lies in its mystery; the skill with which it leaves things unsaid. An audacious and affecting riff on the tenuousness of understanding and the frailty of good intentions. What on earth will the guy do next?’ NZ Herald

‘Jones builds calmly, rationally, in prose shot through with instances of unexpected beauty and tenderness to a terrible climax.’ Adelaide Advertiser

‘A dark fable of imprisonment.’ Sydney Morning Herald, What to Read in 2018

‘It is a thought-provoking and affecting book for readers of literary fiction where the morally questionable appears very ordinary.’ Books + Publishing, FOUR STARS

Coming up:

9th May – The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton

13 June  – Macbeth by Jo Nesbo

11 July – Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

8 August – Miles Franklin Literary Award Longlist





Top Ten Fiction

Suspect (Small)

Here’s the Top Ten Fiction List from Better

  1. 17th Suspect by James Patterson (Century)
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  3. The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (HarperCollins)
  4. Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Michael Joseph)
  5. The Year That Changed Everything by Cathy Kelly (Hachette)
  6. Widows by Lynda la Plante (Zaffre Publishing)
  7. The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan (HarperCollins)
  8. Red Sparrow (Film Tie-In) by Jason Matthews (Simon & Schuster)
  9. The Dry by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  10. Fall From Grace by Danielle Steel (Macmillan)

© Nielsen BookScan  Week Ending 3/3/18.

Still want more to read? You can also check out the weekly top 10 bestselling non-fiction list and the top 10 bestselling children’s books list on Better Reading.


Eleanor Oliphant Discussion

Eleanor (Small)

Well Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman gave everyone so much to talk about – even those who didn’t warm to the story of a lonely eccentric woman whose life changes when she helps a stranger.

Here are the scores from Pageturners with a score of five for loving it (note a 6) and 0 for disliking it (note a 0.5):











And here’s some more reading about the book – The Guardian Review


More on Eleanor from the author Gail Honeyman

The next book for discussion on Wednesday 11th April at 5.30pm is The Cage by Lloyd Jones. 


Pageturners March Read

Eleanor (Small)

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. All this means that Eleanor has become a creature of habit (to say the least) and a bit of a loner.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living. And it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is the story of a quirky yet lonely woman whose social misunderstandings and deeply ingrained routines could be changed forever—if she can bear to confront the secrets she has avoided all her life. But if she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
This is the book for discussion at the March meeting to be held at Orange City Library on Wednesday 14th March from 5.30pm. Please book your place on

Upcoming reads are:

11 April – The Cage by Lloyd Jones

9 May – The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton



Top Ten Bestselling Fiction Books

Still Me

Here are the top selling fiction books for the week from Better Reading:

  1. Still Me by Jojo Moyes (Michael Joseph)
  2. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  3. The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn (HarperCollins)
  4. Fall From Grace by Danielle Steel (Macmillan)
  5. Dark in Death by J.D. Robb (Hachette)
  6. The Midnight Line by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
  7. The Secrets at Ocean’s Edge by Kali Napier (Hachette)
  8. The Dry by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  9. Darker by E L James (Arrow Books)
  10. Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty (Pan)

© Nielsen BookScan 2017 Week Ending 10/2/18

Still want more to read? You can also check out the weekly top 10 bestselling non-fiction list and the top 10 bestselling children’s books list on Better Reading.

First Person Discussion

First Person

What an overwhelming response to Pageturners to restart the year with 16 bookclubbers joining in the discussion of Richard Flanagan’s First Person – the first book he has written since his Man Booker prize winning Narrow Road to the Deep North.

Discussion centred around the writing,  the characters, satire, philosophy, significance of owning a lot of cats, memoir and fiction, good and evil, North Korea, truth and fake news.

Comments included: ”flashes of good parts, didn’t make it through the first 100 pages, didn’t grab me, there are some slow bits, it is very circular, about the agony and ecstasy of writing, I wanted to find out what happened, I didn’t find it interesting until I realised it was based on the true experience of the author, it had an ambiguous ending, thought-provoking, quite depressing and negative, there was an attraction to evil, could feel the horror he was feeling, enjoyed it overall.” While there was general dislike for the book and its characters, some still enjoyed the work. And the all important rating out of 5 stars was an average of 3 stars for this book.

Here is some extra reading and listening – the conman Siegfried Heidl in the book is based on the real life fraudster John Friedrich:

A review in The Guardian:

Listen to author Richard Flanagan talk about his book First Person on the ABC’s Conversations:

Upcoming reads:

The next meeting will be held on 14th March to talk about Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Then 11th April we will discuss The Cage by Lloyd Jones

On 9th May we will chat about Tim Winton’s The Shepherd’s Hut.

Happy pageturning!




Top Ten Fiction List


Top Ten Bestselling Fiction List:

  1. The Midnight Line by Lee Child (Bantam Press)
  2. Darker by E L James (Arrow Books)
  3. Force of Nature by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  4. The Dry by Jane Harper (Macmillan)
  5. Origin by Dan Brown (Bantam)
  6. The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor (Penguin Random House)
  7. Year One by Nora Roberts (Hachette)
  8. Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly (Allen & Unwin)
  9. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham (Hachette)
  10. End Game by David Baldacci (Macmillan)

Nielsen BookScan 2017 Week Ending 6/1/18 taken from