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Harrowing Tale of a Shattered Country
on 22 May 2008
Nothing really happens in this book and the novel's climax is revealed within the first few pages. The events of this book though are incidental; the Lizard Cage is a book about people. It's a book about spirit. It's a book about love.
The 'Lizard Cage' is a prison in Burma filled mainly with political prisoners held by the country's insidious Junta. Karen Connelly skilfully peels off layer after layer of the corruption and brutality that affects every strata of Burmese life. Although the story is fictitious, Connelly's tale is all too real and makes for bleak reading.
The novel's mistreated prisoners are a metaphor for the shackled citizens of the country and her beleaguered characters display the spirit in adversity that Burma's citizens often show whilst living under the most oppressive of regimes. The Lizard Cage makes for bleak reading at times, right up to its incredibly bitter-sweet ending and is perhaps a little overlong. That said, this is a powerful, moving novel and anybody who has a passing interest in Burma or Human Rights should read it.