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Paper Cage by Tom Baragwanath
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Paper Cage

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Paper Cage by Tom Baragwanath
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Feb 13, 2024 | ISBN 9780593821718 | 453 Minutes

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    Feb 13, 2024 | ISBN 9780593685105

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  • Feb 13, 2024 | ISBN 9780593685112

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  • Feb 13, 2024 | ISBN 9780593821718

    453 Minutes

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Finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best First Novel
Shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award for Best International Crime Fiction

“Tom Baragwanath, who makes his debut with Paper Cage, goes bone-deep with his portrayal of Lorraine Henry, a childless widow who works as a file clerk at the police department in Masterton, New Zealand, where sheep and the drug trade drive the economy. . . . Tenderness and violence are always intersecting in Paper Cage; people do bad things out of what they perceive as love. It feels as if Baragwanath has distilled a lifetime of observations into this book, and his images linger in the mind. . . . In this haunting, finely wrought book, Baragwanath illuminates the extraordinary strength of an ordinary woman.” 
Air Mail

“Baragwanath’s debut is both social novel and thriller, spinning the tensions between the white and Māori populations, the chokehold of street gangs, and the toll of drug addiction on young families into a suspenseful crime drama. . . . Just the kind of dark, disturbing, gritty, and unusual treat thriller lovers are looking for.”
Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Baragwanath’s deliciously tense debut paints an evocative portrait of a New Zealand community at risk. . . . Baragwanath powerfully highlights the racist treatment of New Zealand’s Indigenous people without sacrificing pace or intrigue, and the complicated bonds between Lorraine and the rest of her family add weight and dimension to the narrative. In weaving together a lived-in portrait of small-town New Zealand with a truly crackling mystery, Baragwanath proves himself a writer to watch.”
Publishers Weekly

“This gritty debut novel is part thriller and part compelling analysis of the social tensions in a small New Zealand town. . . . New Zealander Baragwanath, who grew up in Masterton, brings the town and surrounding countryside to vivid life as he simultaneously and steadily ratchets up the suspense. . . . His keen understanding of the impacts of class and race on the actions of his characters and his compassionate attitude towards their weaknesses give the novel a remarkable depth.”

“Tom Baragwanath has mastered the craft of literary crime: this is well-paced and vividly written detective fiction with a Chandleresque grittiness to its depiction of a community in crisis.”
The Sydney Morning Herald
“A perfectly pitched and plotted cracker of a debut. . . . The author’s observations are as clear-eyed and intelligent as his endearingly down-to-earth [protagonist] Lorraine.”
New Zealand Listener
“A compelling crime thriller.” 
Canberra Times

“Tightly written. . . . [Baragwanath] is a fascinating talent and one to watch.”

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