The Cage, a new book by the author of the bestseller Mister Pip, is a work of fiction that presents the reader with questions about what it means to be human.
Two men wander into a small town in New Zealand. They’re obviously strangers to the town; outsiders who have been through troubled times. They walk into the town hotel which has a sign saying ‘All Welcome’.
Their strangeness, and their inability to say where they have come from, what tragedy has befallen them, and even to say their names, leaves the inhabitants of the hotel suspicious. The two men, one older and very polite, the other younger and prone to outbursts of rage, are tricked into entering a cage in the backyard and are imprisoned.
Demanding to be released, they are told the key cannot be found. They are waiting for the lady wearing a beret to come and provide the papers that will free them. A young boy named Sport is assigned the job of feeding them and reporting on their behaviour to “The Trust”. Decisions are made by The Trust on their welfare. The book is reminiscent of the play Waiting for Godot.
The Cage could be described as a disturbing commentary on the treatment of refugees, not only in our own country, but around the world. A dark, gripping, and ultimately thoughtful read.
Text Publishing $29.99