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As the townspeople watch the strangers to discover their identity, we learn far more about the watchers than the watched.

A powerful allegorical tale about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we can justify brutality.

Two mysterious strangers turn up 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. 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.

Reviews

Jones builds calmly, rationally, in prose shot through with instances of unexpected beauty and tenderness to a terrible climax – a climax that at last makes our young scribe question his compliance, that tendency of so many of us to deplore and do nothing: “For now I knew who or what I was. I was that stone rabbit. I had ears. But they did not hear. I had eyes. But they did not see…The question is this. At what point did I know what was going to happen? The second question. Why did I not do anything to prevent it?” In this novel, more than any other so far, Jones challenges the humanity of his readers.

Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

In this novel, more than any other so far, Jones challenges the humanity of his readers.

Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

Indeed you may sense a political subtext to Jones' narrative, but it's one of his many achievements that he holds his novel above such simplistic explanations. Events elude definition and classification. Everything and almost everyone is clear, concrete, yet unsettlingly ambivalent. . . . Jones has written of his increasing preoccupation with language in fiction. He shows quite marvellously here how words strain and slip as people try to comprehend something almost incomprehensible. . . . It's a story potent with images like small grenades: "the backyard rushes at me"; "a silence that has the temperament of a siege". 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?

David Hill, Weekend Herald

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.

David Hill, Weekend Herald

How do people go from being part of our tribe to being outside of it? That's the question Jones is asking. . . . "When you find that voice you end up writing things you never knew you knew," he says. The voice he found for The Cage is difficult to listen to, but one that can't be ignored.

Bess Manson, Dominion Post

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Extract

1

Viktor is sick. It means this morning I have to do the feeding out. First, I chop some kindling for the woodburner in the dining room and take it up the stairs with the basket of wood. The air in the dining room still smells of last night. Roast chicken, laughter. A few table tops need to be wiped.

In the kitchen I boil the eggs, switch on the urn. The kitchen is uncomfortably shiny at this hour. My reflection too blurry to see myself properly.

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Also by Lloyd Jones

Pacific Highways: Griffith Review 43
A History of Silence: A Memoir ( NZ Ed)
A History of Silence
Hand Me Down World
Man in the Shed
The Man in the Shed
Biografi
Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance
The Book of Fame
Mister Pip

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
A Gentleman in Moscow
Echo Burning
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Girl on the Train
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
Dragonfly In Amber
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Swing Time
The Bear and The Nightingale
The Golden Age
Tiger Men
Fifty Shades Darker
Ready Player One
The Light Between Oceans
A Long Way from Home
The Secret Vineyard
The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Uncommon Type