Karen Connelly The Lizard Cage

ISBN 13: 9780385525039

The Lizard Cage

4.23 avg rating
( 2,401 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780385525039: The Lizard Cage
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

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.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

lived for almost two years on the Thai-Burma border, among Burmese exiles and dissidents, many whose stories on which The Lizard Cage draws. She won the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction for Touch the Dragon, A Thai Journal, published in the United States as Dream of a Thousand Lives, a New York Times Notable Travel Book. The Lizard Cage is her first novel and was a finalist for the 2006 Kiriyama Prize for Fiction.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

.1.
JULY 1995
The singer is lying on the floor, a gray blanket pulled up around his chest. With slightly narrowed eyes, he stares at the ceiling. A single lizard is up there, clinging to the plaster.

What if it were the last lizard in the world? Then what would you do?

Teza opens his mouth.

It's not the last lizard. Rather, it's the first. Most of them won't appear until evening, little dinner guests neatly dressed in khaki. When the halo of insects has formed around the lightbulb, the reptiles run to and fro in their jerky, mechanical way, jaws snapping. Sometimes their mouths are so stuffed with insects that they can barely shut them. Gluttons. Showoffs. Any hungry mammal would be jealous. With all that eating, you'd think they'd get fat, but unfortunately the lizards are very skinny, like most of the human inmates. Teza closes his mouth.

In response, his stomach growls, the sound as loud as his normal speaking voice. A predatory animal has taken up residence in his gut. Never mind the parasites, a small panther is mutating in there. A feral dog. Evening with its lizard bounty seems very far away.

To confirm that sad thought, the iron-beater begins to strike eleven a.m. Teza counts each blow of a hardwood pallet against an iron bar in the compound, at the base of the watchtower. Clang, clang, clang. The timekeeper whacks the iron as hard as possible, so that the prisoners will hear him and know their time is passing. All ten thousand of them, especially the couple thousand politicals whom the singer counts as friends and comrades, are very far away. The nature of the teak coffin--of any solitary cell--is that it converts everything into distance. Time, space, food, women, his family, music, anything he mightneed or want or love: it is all far, far away.
From solitary, the whole cage is a foreign country to him. He lives on the very edge of it, straining to hear the other voices.
Tkeep! Tkeep! Tkeep!

The lizard sings. Not like a bird, though Teza remembers from first-year biology that this common cling-to-house lizard is brother to a tiny prehistoric sparrow. Then the desert wind blew and the rain fell and the scales grew into feathers. As he stares at the lizard on the ceiling, he can imagine it: the front two legs and feet stretched out, webbing, blossoming into wings. The back feet articulated into clawed toes, which curled deftly around the thin branch of a tree. And birdsong ribboned through the steamy jungle.

But before that, who knows how many millions of years ago, there was just this somewhat alarmed chirping tkeep tkeep tkeep to inspire the Neanderthals. Like Junior Jailer Handsome. Here we are again, the singer thinks, smiling. Back in the Stone Age, among cavemen, in a cave. His stomach growls.

The iron-beater is still. It's past eleven o'clock now. And Sein Yun has not shown up with breakfast. Teza watches the lizard run from the light, stop, run to the wall, stop. It runs down the wall and whisks itself out the air vent high above his head.

Teza scans the brick wall around the vent. His eyes have learned the different colors of reptile and wall, lizard skin and skin of man, brick and spider. That's what he wants to see now. The spider.

It's the color of a tiny, dirty copper pot. When the bulbous back catches the light, the copper becomes iridescent, an alchemist's metal. It glints gold, then a sheen of blue-green rises toward copper again. At dusk the creature deepens to red, then fades with the invisible sun. When Teza first came to the teak coffin, the spider was almost indistinguishable against the red bricks. But now the singer can find him in seconds.

A fine web is strung high in the corner where the two walls meet, below and to the left of the air vent. The spider often rebuilds his web in a different place. When Teza wakes each day, he checks to see if his companion has chosen to abandon the darkness of the cell and build his new home outside. The singer thinks he's the sort of spider who should have green leaves around him. But the spider stays.

The Chief Warden thinks Teza cannot see out of this narrowest of windows. In a manner of speaking, he is correct. The vent is too high. Even when Teza jumps he sees nothing save another fraction of the very high outer wall and a corrugated tin overhang. But the spider sees. He crawls the outer wall, up and up. From the top, the spider witnesses the whole city, the gold stupas, the green trees, the streets, millions of men and women, the lakes Inya and Kandawgyi, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's famous house on University Avenue, and his mother's two-story flat, surrounded by laundry and orchids. Daw Sanda loves her orchids dearly.

The spider perceives all this and more, much more: the sky with its white-backed, blue-bottomed clouds full of rain, the horizon curving like a belly. The spider sees.

And Teza watches the spider.

The fabulous copper-pot spider.

Is it male or female?

The singer has decided the spider is male: it's too depressing to imagine a woman here. He would hate to have a woman see him now.

The singer feeds his male comrade-spider secret messages, just a few words at a time, all his body can hold. Soundlessly, the spider takes in the messages and spins them out when he crawls into the world. The glimmering threads are Teza's words.

I love you. I think of you and send wishes of health.

We have dared everything; we must win.

I take strength from the knowledge that you keep fighting.

I am still alive. Teza.

Remember the meaning of my name.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780385518185: The Lizard Cage: A Novel

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0385518188 ISBN 13:  9780385518185
Publisher: Nan A. Talese, 2007
Hardcover

9780679313281: The Lizard Cage

Vintag..., 2007
Softcover

9780099502470: The Lizard Cage

Vintag..., 2008
Softcover

9780679310228: The Lizard Cage

Random..., 2005
Hardcover

9781846550195: The Lizard Cage

Harvil..., 2007
Softcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Connelly, Karen
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Paperbackshop-US
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2008. PAP. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # KB-9780385525039

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.33
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

CONNELLY, KAREN
Published by Penguin Random House
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
INDOO
(Avenel, NJ, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Penguin Random House. Condition: New. Brand New. Seller Inventory # 0385525036

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.88
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Connelly, Karen
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New Quantity Available: 4
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description 2008. PAP. Condition: New. New Book.Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IB-9780385525039

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.37
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Karen Connelly
Published by Spiegel Grau (2008)
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel Grau, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAS9780385525039

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.93
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Karen Connelly
Published by Spiegel Grau (2008)
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel Grau, 2008. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. Seller Inventory # AAS9780385525039

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.48
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Connelly, Karen
Published by Spiegel & Grau
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Mediaoutlet12345
(Springfield, VA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel & Grau. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0385525036 *BRAND NEW* Ships Same Day or Next!. Seller Inventory # SWATI2132237512

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.54
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

7.

Connelly, Karen
Published by Spiegel & Grau
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Bookhouse COM LLC
(Philadelphia, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel & Grau. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0385525036. Seller Inventory # Z0385525036ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

8.

Connelly, Karen
Published by Spiegel & Grau
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
BookShop4U
(PHILADELPHIA, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel & Grau. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0385525036. Seller Inventory # Z0385525036ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

9.

Connelly, Karen
Published by Spiegel & Grau
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Vital Products COM LLC
(Southampton, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel & Grau. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0385525036. Seller Inventory # Z0385525036ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

10.

Connelly, Karen
Published by Spiegel & Grau
ISBN 10: 0385525036 ISBN 13: 9780385525039
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Best Bates
(Bensalem, PA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Spiegel & Grau. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0385525036. Seller Inventory # Z0385525036ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.20
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book