The Cage

The Cage


by Lloyd Jones
30 AUG 2018

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Pub Date: 30 AUG 2018
Extent: 288pp
Format: paperback
ISBN: 9781911231202
Rights: World: Text Publishing; NZ: Penguin Random House NZ

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.


‘Vivid and meticulous...This is fantastically, blandly effective prose, the tone pitch perfect, not a stultifying word wasted, not a dark idea out of place…Jones has forged a piece of poetry of the most uncanny and macabre kind – a timely reminder to us all that humanity cannot ever be taken for granted, that it hangs, always, and all too terrifyingly, by the very skin of its teeth.’

A compelling, grimly believable tale of how a community can convince itself wrong is right, and how small steps can lead to madness.’
Guardian, Paperbacks

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

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

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

‘…A thinly disguised allegory of how easily ordinary, civilised people can lose their humanity, which reminded me of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.’ Australian Financial Review

‘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

‘Simply, clearly and vividly written, the moral dilemma posed in The Cage will linger long in my mind.’ NZ Spin Off, Book of the Week

‘Lloyd Jones’ new and possibly best novel will hold you in its narrative grip from its first page…This is exciting, risk-taking writing…Is it a fable? Probably, although it’s open enough for you to make your own interpretation, possibly more than one. Does it have antecedents? Numerous: Orwell, with the occupants of the hotel constantly watching the occupants of the cage: Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, with its air hopeless bleakness; the Kafkaesque way unsettling events are described with deadpan detachment; and all the absurdity and hopelessness of a Beckett play.’ North & South

‘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

‘The puzzle of where the human essence lies and is shared is implicit in Jones' dark parable.’ Age

‘It is (also) brilliant. It compels and repels.’ NZ Listener

‘With archetypal characters and a setting­ that is only roughly outlined, the story is contemporary yet feels out of time and place.’ Australian

‘Lloyd Jones’s new and possibly best novel will hold you in its narrative grip from it’s first pages…This is exciting, risk-taking writing.’ North & South

‘The Kiwi master who brought us Mister Pip and The Book of Fame is in fine form with this unsettling new novel that begins with two mysterious strangers arriving at a hotel in a small country town. Hospitality shifts to suspicion and fear in this allegorical, fable-like tale about humanity and dignity and the ease with which we can justify brutality.’ Cityscape