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The Cage Hardcover – April 1, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; First Edition edition (April 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565120353
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565120358
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,490,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This riveting, assured first novel about a nature photographer who joins an all-male expedition to record polar bears on the Canadian tundra is difficult to classify. Part survival story, part coming-of-age tale, the narrative mixes rich characterization with detailed observation of the natural world and crisply described action, and the effect is startling and memorable. The only child of older parents, Beryl Findham is a small, weak, fearful woman who is ill at ease with most people. She lives alone in Boston, photographing animals in zoos, imagining a diminished future world where her size will be an advantage. Chosen to join the expedition because she fits inside the cage designed to let a photographer get close to the deadly bears, Beryl soon realizes that the trip will test her in ways she can hardly imagine. As the setting moves from Boston to Churchill, the small Manitoba town on the shore of Hudson Bay where the expedition assembles, to the frozen wilderness where Beryl will confront the bears, Schulman artfully builds suspense with details of chilling authenticity, cohesively streamlining a compact, efficient narrative. Some of her scenes are truly terrifying, conjuring up the spine-tingling feel of a bear's breath on the back of the neck. People will talk about this book.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this feminist adventure story, Beryl is the only woman member of a photographic team sent on assignment to Churchill, Manitoba to capture polar bears in their natural habitat. Accompanied by three men, a video cameraman, a writer, and a guide, Beryl must learn to work in the extreme cold of the Canadian tundra and in dangerous proximity to the massive animals. To escape the weather and the bears, the team is forced to spend long hours together in close quarters. The cage of the title is both a literal one--a small iron enclosure from which to photograph the bears in safety--and a metaphorical one--the cage of helplessness and inferiority from which women are emerging to challenge men at their own games. Although it may leave you longing for a hot cocoa beside a warm fire, this gripping, fast-paced narrative is recommended.
- Barbara Love, St. Lawrence Coll., Kingston, Ontario
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

You can feel the cold and smell the muskiness of the bears.
jean dunbar
I like the style of writing and the main character's fascination with the polar bears.
Kathy A. Mccollum
I was engrossed in this book as soon as I began reading the first sentence.
LittleTiny

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Bucherwurm on June 11, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent adventure that brings the cold of the Arctic into your living room. Most of us have heard about the annual polar bear migration to Churchill, and this well written novel describes the beauty and the terror of that event. For a period each year its like aliens have landed and you must be constantly alert or suffer tragic consequences. The expedition of the media people is fascinating and terrifying. Why hasn't this author written another book? I'm certainly ready for it.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Erin K. Darling on February 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up out of a stack of freebies several years ago, and continually passed it over when browsing my bookshelves for a new read. Last night, I picked it up, reread the back cover, and gave it a shot. Less than four hours later, I finished the book with arched eyebrows, very pleasantly surprised by how good it was.
Schulman does an *excellent* job of placing the reader in the moment with her highly-descriptive writing. The amount of detail is perfect - never so much that the story drags while describing the setting, but almost always enough so that the reader can feel the depth of the cold, smell the polar bears, and hear the crunch of snow.
She also does a wonderful job of conveying the protagonist's thought processes and she undergoes radical changes in how she thinks of herself and the world through her challenges. This *may* be a book enjoyed more by women than by men - I don't mean to say that men won't understand it, rather that women (on the whole) might relate more intimately with how the main character thinks and feel.
I'll definitely pick up the other books by this author - I very much enjoyed her writing voice.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ms. WB on July 15, 2005
Format: Paperback
The Cage is a chillingly toothy book about disaster, survival, and human nature. Beautifully written. Audrey Schulman is my hero.

Beryl is a woman whose smallness has always been seen as a vulnerability and who has often treated her "own body as the enemy." Yet it is her very size that lands her a job as the still photographer for a Natural Photography trip to the arctic to photograph polar bears. The coordinator of the expedition explains to her: "You are the only one able to fit into the cage with any reasonable safety factor." He then adds that he hopes she appreciates this opportunity. The opportunity is a risky one and Beryl soon finds herself with two other photographers and a guide taking close ups of polar bears in their natural habitat. Between the trips out to take shots of the bears, Beryl forms friendships with a local policewoman, Maggie, and Jean-Claude, the young half-Inuit guide. The final third of the book takes place in the middle of the tundra, where the seemingly well-equipped expedition becomes stranded.

The Cage is ultimately a book about survival and ends on a note that, while moving and still hopeful, may be uncomfortable for some people. Schulman is completely unsentimental about the lives of her characters. Sometimes terrible things happen to good people. The writing is intriguing and feels honest: Maggie tells Beryl about her encounter with one of the bears that dragged her, ripping her cheek apart.

"The strange part was, she said, when the bear had reached forward with its mouth open for the front of her parka, she'd relaxed. Like the bear was going to give her a backrub. Her muscles just loosened. She'd felt the pressure, the tugging, but she'd been peaceful, very aware and far away.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T.M. Reader on August 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a wonderful novel! Nice work Ms. Schulman. The story: A photgrapher gets a contract to go to the Artic and photograph polar bears from inside a cage. The bears are fiercely predatory of course. And it is cold. Very cold.

I don't think this book is strongly feminist, but I was certainly aware of the female perspective and authorship (I'm a male). Regardless, the book works . . . for ALL readers. Wonderful development of and faithfulness to the characters, perfect pace and level of detail, plots and sub-plots, a little romance but not unrealistic or vulgar, and - best of all - Schulman did her homework in spades regarding the polar bears and human arctic survival issues. I look forward to reading Schulman again. And for the rest of my life I will pause, watch and imagine when viewing a polar bear.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By LittleTiny on September 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was engrossed in this book as soon as I began reading the first sentence. As the reader procedes, she in informed of the multiple metaphorical cages that Beryl, the main character, lives in. While the man vs. natural elements is not new by any means, Schulman masters this aspect of the story in a refreshing way that captures the adventure, the fear, and the excitment that feed the suspense. Not only is this a great adventure novel but one that dives into the heart of many modern young woman's insecurities. A must read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 7, 2004
Format: Library Binding
Photographer Beryl Findham has come to a frozen bay at the bleak and empty top of the world, she was hired to capture on film the raw and deceptive power of nature untamed. I would classify this book as a fiction adventure novel. The main character in the story is Beryl Findham and she is photographing rare animals out in nature. The main idea of the story is that Beryl is struggling to survive the rough conditions in the harsh environment. Beryl Findham is in a cage taking photographs of the animals that are surrounding her in search of food. She knows that if they get into the cage somehow or in any way the cage fails that she will be torn to pieces so she is highly relying on the cage to protect her.
This book is very interesting and exciting because it kept me wondering what was going to happen next and had a lot of suspense throughout the whole thing. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes suspense and is interested in the outdoors. This book relates to me because I am interested in Photography and the outdoors but this book shows you the extremes of the profession and how dangerous it can be. Some background of the book is that Beryl was the only woman certified and hired for the expedition. Her father was very curious about the trip and was questioning the danger level on this trip. Beryl was very close to her mother because she was an only child and her mother was really like her best and only friend. She takes off on this journey to prove to herself that she can do whatever she wants.
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