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Life After Death Paperback – Illustrated, May 7, 2013

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,096 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Life After Death

“[Echols] has written a haunting book, and the story it tells is hardly over. He is living out a sequel that is no less strange and magickal than what he has already been through.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"[A] tale of romance, resilience, and the power of the written word."O, the Oprah Magazine

“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.”—John Grisham

"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."—Johnny Depp

“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.”—Henry Rollins

“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.”—Eddie Vedder

“[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.”—Booklist

“[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....a heart-wrenching and simple commentary on American prison life.”Publisher’s Weekly (starred)

“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

Damien Echols was born in 1974 and grew up in Mississippi, Tennessee, Maryland, Oregon, Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas. At age eighteen he was wrongfully convicted of murder, along with Jason Baldwin and Jessie Miskelley, Jr. Echols received a death sentence and spent almost eighteen years on Death Row, until he, Baldwin, and Misskelley were released in 2011. The West Memphis Three have been the subject of Paradise Lost, a three-part documentary series produced by HBO, and West of Memphis, a documentary produced by Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh. Echols is also the author of High Magic: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row and Yours For Eternity (with his wife Lorri Davis).
 
While in prison, Damien was ordained into the Rinzai Zen Buddhist tradition. Today he teaches classes on magick around the country and works as a visual artist. He and Lorri live in New York City with their three cats.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Plume; Illustrated edition (May 7, 2013)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0142180289
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0142180280
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.94 x 8.4 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 1,096 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
1,096 global ratings
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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2020
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Reviewed in the United States on December 6, 2012
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Top reviews from other countries

Elle Catherine
5.0 out of 5 stars It makes one look at the world differently.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 21, 2017
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8 people found this helpful
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Ms. Lynsey Courtenay
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, what a heartbreaking story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 23, 2017
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Leila O'Connor
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit disappointing, as a WM3 supporter
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 27, 2012
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debra dyson
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartbreaking account of courage and hope
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 7, 2020
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Kindle Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and mostly irrelevant rubbish
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 16, 2019
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