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Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row Hardcover – June 17, 2014
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*Praise for Life After Death by Damien Echols*
A New York Times Bestseller
A Los Angeles Times Bestseller
A USA Today Bestseller
A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
A Kirkus Reviews “Best of 2012” nonfiction selection
“Damien Echols spent eighteen years on death row for murders he did not commit. Somehow, in the depths of his unspeakable nightmare, he found the courage and strength not only to survive, but to grow, to create, to forgive, and to understand. Life After Death is a brilliant, haunting, painful, and uplifting narrative of a hopeless childhood, a wrongful conviction, a brutal incarceration, and the beginning of a new life.”
“Wrongfully imprisoned by willfully ignorant cops, prosecutors and judge, Damien Echols draws on all his wits and his unique view of humanity to survive eighteen years on death row. My admiration for him, and the strength of his spirit, increases with every page.”
—Sir Peter Jackson, Academy Award-winning director, producer and screenwriter
“I am in awe of Damien's ability to write so beautifully, with such ease, humor and honesty—this is inspired storytelling, a wonderful book!”
—Fran Walsh, Academy Award-winning screenwriter, composer and producer
“The life of Damien Echols is a journey similar to that of the metal that becomes a samurai’s sword. Heated and pounded until it becomes hardened, it can hold its edge for centuries. It is incredible that Damien endured and survived one of the most tragic miscarriages of American justice, and emerged such a centered, articulate and extraordinary man and writer. Life After Death proves that he paid dearly for his wisdom.”
“Exceptional memoir by the most famous of the West Memphis Three. [B]are facts alone would make for an interesting story. However, Echols is at heart a poet and mystic, and he has written not just a quickie one-off book to capitalize on a lurid news story, but rather a work of art that occasionally bears a resemblance to the work of Jean Genet. A voracious reader all his life, Echols vividly tells his story, from his impoverished childhood in a series of shacks and mobile homes to his emergence after half a lifetime behind bars as a psychically scarred man rediscovering freedom in New York City. The author also effectively displays his intelligence and sensitivity, qualities the Arkansas criminal justice system had no interest in recognizing during Echols’ ordeal. Essential reading.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“This is a stunning piece of work. Such hope while faced with injustice. Damien teaches us how to live.”
“[Echols’] case garnered worldwide attention, but [his] memoir is about as far away from a publicity-seeking I-was-wronged story as possible. The author opts for a meatier, and certainly more haunting, account of his life behind bars, coupled with flashbacks to his childhood....Echols is a talented writer, and when the book dips into his own spiritual and philosophical beliefs...it achieves the kind of emotional resonance that many similar books lack....A tragic and often disturbing story."
"Damien Echols suffered a shocking miscarriage of justice. A nightmare few could endure. An innocent man on death row for more than eighteen years, abused by the very system we all fund. His story will appall, fascinate, and render you feeble with tears and laughter. A brilliant memoir to battle with literary giants of the calibre of Jean Genet, Gregory David Roberts, and Dostoevsky."
“[T]his is an eloquent, even bitterly lyrical, portrayal of how an innocent man can slip through the cracks of the legal system and struggle to survive. Compelling and deeply moving, in the tradition of Helen Prejean’s Dead Man Walking and Norman Mailer’s The Executioner’s Song, this memoir will appeal to a wide audience.”
—Library Journal (starred)
“In this searing, finely wrought memoir, Echols recalls his poverty-stricken childhood, the trial of the West Memphis 3, and the harsh realities of life on death row … The most affecting sections are Echols’s philosophical musings on all he has lost, his thoughts often influenced by Zen Buddhism. In one journal entry that survived the guards’ purge, Echols contemplates what he misses the most while in prison. The answer is a heart-wrenching and simple commentary on American prison life: ‘In the end it’s not the fruit I miss most... I miss being treated like a human being.’”
—Publisher’s Weekly (starred)
“[A] tale of romance, resilience, and the power of the written word.”
—Stephanie Palumbo, O, The Oprah Magazine
“Echols is a writer whose talent is commensurate with the task of telling this story....The man who has emerged from death row at last is not quite a hero, but he’s something far more interesting: an artist—and, most definitely, well worth meeting.”
—Laura Miller, Salon.com
“Gripping…Echols has already lived a remarkable life, one forged in tragedy and all manner of iniquity. That he is able to write so movingly about the many trials he endured speaks volumes about his intellect and character.”
—Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
"Yours For Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row" is a incredible compilation of letters with thoughtful commentary exchanged between authors Damien Echols and Lorri Davis. The couple exchanged thousands of letters between 1996-2011. Prior knowledge of the WM3 case is recommended.
In 1996 Lorri Davis attended the premier showing of "Paradise Lost" a documentary of the WM3 slayings. Davis was empathetic to many social issues and was profoundly emotionally moved/affected by the injustice of the WM3 case. Unable to forget it, she feared she was losing her mind. Not knowing what to expect in writing to a prison inmate, she wrote a letter of support to Damien Echols.
Davis would discover when Echols answered her letter; was an articulate, sensitive, creative, highly intelligent man. As they corresponded they both discovered in friendship an openness they hadn't experienced with anyone else. It was joyous to see their relationship unfold, as they discussed their backgrounds, past experiences, families, friends, beliefs, emotions/ideas etc. They fell in love through letters and phone calls. Davis readily admitted she wouldn't suggest a woman write to an inmate, and kept their relationship secret from her family and employer for four years. Echols kept his hard core prison abuse/torture from Davis, not wanting to burden her with the knowledge, or any part of it to touch their relationship. High phone bills, dealing with anxieties, jealousies, some "sex letters" were included as a genuine account of issues they faced as a couple.
This is such a rare and unusual story of love and marriage, rising powerfully from the ashes left by tragedy and despair.Read more ›
Because the letters tended to be "all over the place," especially after Echols and Davis started communicating by phone, it would have been helpful if the book included more commentary from the couple. Clearly, there were some things the couple wanted to keep private, like Echols relationship with his son. However, when there is an off-hand reference to a particular conversation or event, some context is necessary. There are some footnotes and postscripts included in the book, but not nearly enough to keep readers apprised of what is going on in Echols and Davis' lives at that particular point in time. The book would have worked just as well, if they had ended it when the letter writing started to slow (1998) and included more narratives from the couple. The scant amount of letters from 2000-2005 did not really do much for the book as a whole.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a generous look into their letters...I will never look at the prison system with a trusting eye again after reading this story.Published 20 days ago by Linda A. Peters
This was a great read! It is a wonderful, poignant story of a deep and abiding love. I am so happy these two people are finally together. Read morePublished 1 month ago by LINDA
Absolutely Beautiful. Do not listen to those low ratings! How could you not see and feel every single seed that was spread and nurtured through all those years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Patricia stauffer0747
I ordered this after "Life After Death" and was hoping that it would go more in depth about Damien's life in prison, his case and whatnot. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
this book is one of the best love stories ever I'm glad Damien found happiness after being accused wrongfully by ignorant judge, cops and evangelists Christians.Published 2 months ago by ruben garcia
This book. Wow. I apologize for the simplicity but, wow. I knew their story as I had watched the documentaries on HBO. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amanda
This novel was horrendous.
I'm familiar with all things WM3, so, as one would assume, I was interested in the romance of Damien and Lorri and how that relationship... Read more