The Lizard Cage

The Lizard Cage

Book - 2007
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Beautifully written and taking us into an exotic land, Karen Connelly's debut novel The Lizard Cage is a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit.

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, he applies his acute intelligence, Buddhist patience, and humor to find meaning in the interminable days, and searches for news in every being and object that is grudgingly allowed into his cell.

Despite his isolation, Teza has a profound influence on the people around him. His very existence challenges the brutal authority of the jailers, and his steadfast spirit inspires radical change. Even when Teza's criminal server tries to compromise the singer for his own gain, Teza befriends him and risks falling into the trap of forbidden conversation, food, and the most dangerous contraband of all: paper and pen.

Yet, it is through Teza's relationship with Little Brother, a twelve-year-old orphan who's grown up inside the walls, that we ultimately come to understand the importance of hope and human connection in the midst of injustice and violence. Teza and the boy are prisoners of different orders: only one of them dreams of escape and only one of them will achieve it--their extraordinary friendship frees both of them in utterly surprising ways.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Tales/Doubleday, 2007.
Edition: First U.S. edition.
ISBN: 9780385518185
Branch Call Number: F
Characteristics: 430 pages ; 25 cm


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WVMLStaffPicks Feb 01, 2015

Teza, a young Burmese man, has been sentenced to 20 years in solitary confinement for writing protest songs against the military regime. Set almost entirely within the prison, this is a vivid, often poetic, recreation of a community full of contradictions. It is a community where passionate life-affirming ideals co-exist with brutality, deprivation and cruelty. Teza develops a strong relationship with a young orphan boy who also lives within the prison walls. Riveting, sad, and disturbing, but ultimately a hopeful read.

Jul 30, 2014

If you like a book that leaves an impression on you then you must absolutley read this book. Very touching and informative story. I really loved this one.

Oct 07, 2013

Karen Connelly won the Govenor General's Award for Non-Fiction in 1993 for Touch the Dragon. The Lizard Cage a 2005 novel is a book to read if you are a person who would like to know more about Burma or Buddhism should read.

Here is a pretty good summary of the story:

My favourite quote " ..the power beyond the body is the spirit. "

May 20, 2013

This is a very soulful story. It is about a political prisoner in Burma by the name of Teza. The story deals a lot with the horrors of life in the prison but the real story is the effect that Teza's presence has on several different characters in the book. The author makes quite a political statement about the state of affairs in Burma, but was able to wrap it all up in a sensitive and touching story line. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this beautiful book and highly recommend it. Guaranteed to touch your heart.

Jul 27, 2012

Everyone should read this book.

Feb 26, 2012

This story was excellent. Moving and agonizing. I highly recommend this book.

Goober1950 Jun 25, 2011

Best one yet! One to own!


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Oct 07, 2013

I think this is a pretty good summary available at the Good Reads site:


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Oct 07, 2013

" ..the power beyond the body is the spirit. "


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