By my mid-twenties, I'd published four or five books, and all that work was informed and shaped deeply by two realities: that of the physical body, and that of the physical earth. The passionate sensualism of youth: delicious: I lived much of it in Mediterranean countries, especially in Greece. At twenty-six, when I went to dictatorship-ruled Burma and lived with refugees and dissidents on the Thai-Burma border, the body politic became the third reality, the third member of the trinity. In Burma, the life of the spirit, through animism and Buddhism, is also part of politics. In fact the life of the spirit is the sky over everything, indivisible from daily life and history.
How does the human—both the adult and, with more difficulty, the child—survive violence and trauma? How does the earth survive our assaults? How do we love? Not just in grand gestures or on paper, but daily, laboriously, carefully? These questions are part of the exploration of all those bodies—the human, the earthly, the political, the spiritual. The Lizard Cage is a world where the people are all struggling to live out the answers to those questions. That's why it took me so bloody long to write it—I grew up with the book. It slowly taught me the themes that I will draw from for the rest of my writing life.
For more info on Karen Connelly's work, see her website at www.karenconnelly.ca or visit www.randomhouse.ca.