Congratulations, Karen Connelly!

Karen Connelly won the Orange Prize for New Writers for The Lizard Cage, a beautiful, contemplative (if that adjective can be applied to books) story about a political prisoner and a prison-raised child in Burma (Myanmar). The setting is fascinating, the characters are compelling, and the net effect is uplifting despite the mean and injust situation they find themselves in.

The book grabbed my attention because it was about Burma but I didn't buckle down to read it until a friend of mine who is from Burma mentioned she thought it was really good, and that it spoke to the current political situation.

Though the author is a Canadian, I'm sufficiently convinced she's well-versed enough in her subject to represent it faithfully. She's had a long love affair with that part of Asia, having won the Governor General's award for non-fiction at the record-setting age of 24 for Touch the Dragon, her memoir of a Rotary year spent in Thailand.

The book is permeated with Buddhist thought--which is why contemplative is such an appropriate adjective--but don't let that turn you off. There are many things of value in other religious practice which can enrich the understanding and practice of our own faith.


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