THE WELL-STOCKED AND GILDED CAGE
The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage
Five essays on pets—a dog, a bird, a tortoise, a ferret, and a chameleon —anchor this wild menagerie, exploring childhood spirituality  , global positioning systems  , wildlife conservation  , and climate change. In a wide range of tones and styles, from lyric to visual, photojournalism to collage, THE WELL-STOCKED AND GILDED CAGE swings between Pennsylvania, Nepal, California, Cambodia, Arizona, Myanmar, Delaware, and Bangladesh.
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From THE WELL-STOCKED AND GILDED CAGE, "Dogsucker: The Written Oral" was selected as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2016, compiled by Jonathan Franzen and Robert Atwan. It originally appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review. “Give Me That For Nothing, Now I Am Going Away” (originally published in Wag’s Revue) was selected as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays 2015, compiled by Ariel Levy and David Atwan. “Of No Ground: Late Days In the Country of Eighteen Tides,” earned Terrain’s 6th Annual Creative Nonfiction Award, and the titular essay, “The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage,” won Prairie Schooner’s 2016 Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing.
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“At the least unhinged and quite possibly a little insane, Lawrence Lenhart’s essays are perverse in the best way, willing to sacrifice whatever (self-protection, sleep, comfort, love, safety, tradition) in search of the weird heart beating inside the world and the real meaning of things. Lenhart’s a legitimate threat: a yearner and a quester. Ain’t no cage, however gilded, can hold this bird for long.”
- Ander Monson, author of Letter to A Future Lover
"There are books with turtles in them. And books with dogs. And books about bullies. And books about hoarding birds. There are books about Bangladesh and books about the end of the world but I do not think there is another book that pulls back the veil to reveal how woven together dogs, bullies, birds, babies and Bangladesh are. Lenhart does something in The Well-Stocked and Gilded Cage that only someone with a special kind of genius can do: train his focus as sharply inward as he does outward. Intense awareness combined with his intense concern make for a big heart and a big brain and a big, as in important, book."
- Nicole Walker, author of Micrograms and Quench Your Thirst With Salt