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Yours for Eternity: A Love Story on Death Row (Anglais) Relié – 17 juin 2014


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Extrait

***This excerpt is from an advance corrected proof***

Copyright © 2014 Damien Echols Publishing

authors’ note

 

 

When we began our journey together, now nearly twenty years ago, we hadn’t a clue what was in store for us. A young man on death row in Arkansas caught up in a terrible sequence of events and wrongful convictions. A woman in New York City who loved to go to the movies. Fate drew us inexplicably together—and we’ve spent the rest of our lives trying to explain the hows and whys of falling in love and building a life. There’s no easy answer for why we wrote those first letters— why a young, successful woman writes a letter to a man in prison—and most especially why we kept on writing those letters. Except that the more we helped each other deal with pain and fear, the greater our hope for freedom and joy grew. There were terribly dark days, months, and years, and yet we survived—as many married people do, regardless of their circumstances. The moments of ecstasy, romance, humor, and companionship burned brighter for the obstacles we faced. Again, like any married couple has faced.

We wrote thousands and thousands of letters to each other between 1996 and 2011, when Damien was released. Sometimes five or six a day. It was a daunting task to reread and select the ones that best told our story, not to mention the occasional letter that we came across unopened—either one of us must have saved it to read later, and received a second or third letter that day and forgotten about it. We spoke too often to keep track. We didn’t always date the letters, so we’ve gone by postmarks here rather than the day they were written, and some span the course of several days before they were mailed. We have hundreds of mailmen to thank for keeping our love alive, and for bringing us both the words we needed to live by every day.

—Lorri Davis and

Damien Echols

 

April 1996

Dear Damien,

I really wanted to wait until you had a chance to reply to my letter (if you wanted to) before I bombarded you with another, but I have so many thoughts running through my head—I have decided to write them all down.

By the way—if I am encroaching on your privacy in any way— and you don’t want me to write—please don’t hesitate to let me know. Like I have mentioned already a few times—I don’t know why I feel compelled to have contact with you—I just do—so I will write until you tell me to stop. I found an article in the New Yorker that you might find interesting—I don’t know what your legal situation is—the film doesn’t go into much detail about your appeal—what is happening? I have a friend whose father knows Kevin Doyle—I would like to make your case apparent to him—but only with your permission. I don’t even know what would happen—but I figure the more people who know—the more will be done. I know the movie will help when it comes out—but in the meantime I will tell everyone I know about you.

How far away from West Memphis is Tucker? Do you get many visitors?

In the movie, your family and girlfriend (wife?)—that wasn’t clear—she says you asked her to marry you—but that’s all—they came across as very caring, compassionate people. I hope you have a lot of support from them. I hope you get to see your son. How long have you been incarcerated? What are your days like—do you share a cell with someone? Please excuse my ignorance, I just want a semblance of what your life is presently.

I hope it doesn’t freak you out to have someone that you don’t even know mooning over you so much. It kind of freaks me out that this is happening to me. I cry about it a lot. I am fortunate enough to have a job that allows me to listen to music and draw all day—but since I have become “acquainted” with you it’s difficult—because I think about your situation all the time. I’m trying to figure out a positive way to deal with it. If I don’t—well, I already have, right? I honestly believe that undying hope can do wonders in this world. Damien, I can’t say that I believe in “God”; but something has brought you into my life, and as daunting as it is to me sometimes, I know it’s a good thing.

I hope with all my heart you are O.K.

I am sending you a photograph of the place Father Damien had his colony on the island of Molokai. Isn’t it beautiful? Such a beautiful place for such misery at one time.

The original King Kong was filmed on that rock in the center of the photograph.

That dark figure to the right is me. I was a little reluctant to send you a photograph of me—but I suppose it is only fair.

The graveyard has an empty grave where Father Damien was buried, but his body was eventually shipped back to Belgium.

O.K. I’ll stop for now.

As I said before and will continue to say—let me know if I can send anything in particular to you. If you don’t tell me I’m going to start sending you Danielle Steel novels and really nasty-smelling aftershave and sardines in mustard sauce, and pieces of red string that I find on the street, and last but certainly not least—a large pod of some sort.

I will, too.

Bye,

Lorri

 

April 1996

Dear Lorri,

Believe me, I in no way think that my privacy is being invaded and I do not mind being “bombarded with letters.” I just sent off another letter to you a couple days ago, which you should have gotten right before this one. I can’t remember if I enclosed those articles I was telling you about or not, so if I forgot, just remind me, and I’ll get them out to you.

Thank you for the article from the New Yorker. I had read it a couple days before; I have a subscription to the New Yorker. I love the little cartoons they print.

I certainly don’t mind you making my case known to Kevin Doyle. I would not object to anything that could possibly help.

Yes, I’m sure the film will convince a lot of people in other states of my innocence, but what worries me is whether or not the people of Arkansas will pay attention. They refuse to look at the evidence and they refuse to listen to reason. All they want is to see somebody die for those crimes and a “freak” like me is just as good as anyone. The whole attitude scares the hell out of me.

Thank you for telling everyone about me. Maybe if everyone were to take as big an interest as you have things could happen a lot faster. It just seems that most people just don’t care, or they’re so close-minded they won’t even try to see the truth.

How far is West Memphis from Tucker? Exactly 147 miles. Yes, I usually have a visitor every week. My family and friends have really pulled together and they try to stay pretty close to me. They’ve been very supportive. No, unfortunately, I don’t get to see my son. He’ll be three years old this year, and I haven’t seen him since he was about 5 months. My girlfriend moved to Arizona and took him with her. I haven’t seen or heard from either of them since the trial. She’s gone on with her life. I really can’t blame her, I guess, since I’ve been locked up 3 years now. Maybe it’s for the best, but it still hurts like hell.

My life? Well, I have my own cell, which I spend 22 hours a day inside of. I’m allowed to go outside for 2 hours a day, but I usually don’t, because I’m not allowed around any of the other prisoners, and when you do go out, you just stand in a fenced square like a dog kennel and bake in the sun. I spend most of my time just lying on the bed listening to the radio and reading. There’s absolutely nothing to do, but for some reason it still seems like time goes by incredibly fast. It’s kind of hard to believe I’ve been here this long. It doesn’t seem like it.

No, I don’t believe in Christianity’s version of God, either, but from the very beginning of this situation, I’ve felt that there had to be a purpose for all of this. Now I just have to figure out what the purpose is, so I can go home. J Maybe this is just a way to pay off some karma I’ve built up in the past or something.

Thank you for the picture. Yes, it is beautiful. I hope to one day be able to go there for myself.

Why are you afraid for me to see what you look like? I’m not so shallow as to judge you by your physical appearance. Just relax and be natural. Trust me, we’ll get along great.

I’m not sure that I’m in need of any Danielle Steel novels, nasty-smelling aftershave, bits of red string, or a pod of some sort, though I do appreciate the gesture. J I can only have things made of paper. Remember, I am a dangerous lunatic. J

Right now, my first appeal hasn’t even been heard yet. My case goes before the Arkansas Supreme Court on September second. We expect to be denied though. We don’t expect to get any help until we reach federal court.

I guess I’m going to close for now, but I can’t wait to hear from you again. You’re a sweetie.

Forever,

Damien

 

Revue de presse

“Reconstructed from thousands of letters the pair exchanged over 16 years, this tender and unusual narrative offers a rare, courageously intimate view of a love that should never have survived and yet did.”—Kirkus

*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.”
—John Grisham
 
“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
 
"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
 
“[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

 


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Amazon.com: 42 commentaires
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Sweet and Compelling 21 juin 2014
Par ruth carter - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
If you are tired of tales of jaded infidelity and sarcastic and shallow views of love, this is the book for you. In the most unlikely places two souls have connected with a sweetness, innocence, depth and loyalty that is inspiring. The tale of the West Memphis Three is told in many other places. This is the story of two amazing people kept apart by the cruelest and most unjust circumstances who patiently held each other together until they could actually hold each other. Their different styles of letter writing make the story vivid and fascinating. I can't recommend it enough
8 internautes sur 9 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
From Tragedy and Despair: Correspondence of Lasting Love and Marriage...... 23 juin 2014
Par Michel Short - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
"Art will be the horse I ride to freedom..." ~ Damien Echols
"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. Echols and Davis spent tremendous amounts of time going through their correspondence deciding what to use to illustrate their relationship, the effort and challenges (both legal and otherwise), to keep their love alive enough to sustain them both. Echols kept every letter Davis wrote him to preserve the best thing that ever happened to him. Towards the end of the book, written correspondence tapers off as they talk on the phone and visit. Davis moved to Little Rock, AR in 1998 to be closer to Echols and worked tirelessly in efforts to free him from prison. They were married at the Tucker Maximum Security Unit, Tucker, AR in 1999. In 2011, Echols was released from prison, he and Davis live in NYC.
Remembering:
Christopher Mark Byers ~ (June 23, 1984 - May 5, 1993) ~ Steve Edward Branch ~ (November 26, 1984 - May 5, 1993) ~
James Michael Moore ~ (July 27, 1984 - May 5, 1993) ~
19 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
together at last 18 juin 2014
Par Michele - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
First off,let me say that this book pretty much requires the reader to be familiar with Damien's case abd the West Memphis 3. But dont fret! There is plenty of material out there for you--i recommend it all. The fantastic Paradise Lost Trilogy, or if you dont want to watch three films, I recommend the equally powerful West of Memphis. There was also an episode of CBS' s 48 Hours devoted to the case a few years ago. You need to have the details of the case, because this book isn't really supposed to be about a case study. You can write a whole book on just that alone. (In fact, someone did. It's called 'Devil's Knot' by Mara Leveritt). Also you can go to wm3.org but I recommend the films. That way, you're more invested emotionally in this book as a reader. What the state of Arkansas did to these 6 boys (knowingly letting 3 innocent boys rot in jail, and letting the real murderer of 3 little boys roam free) is nothing short of criminal. I have been following the case for over 10 years, and both Damien and Lorri are an inspiration and two strong, admirable people. Damien's book Life After Death showed us how eloquent of a writer and storyteller Damien is, and I'm happy to finally get some insight into Lorri's heart as well. She saved his life, and devoted her life to exoneration of the West Memphis Three. It's a phenomenal story, one I will continue to admire for years. I'm so glad that they finally have a happy life together after their long, nightmarish road through the bowels of the Arkansas justice system. Now, we all need to continue pushing the state of Arkansas to do what needs to be done-exonerate damien, Jason, and Jessie and bring the real killer to justice. They already know what direction to look in
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Four stars for their bravery! 27 septembre 2014
Par Twittbrarian - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I enjoyed reading about how these two "misfits" met, fell in love, and stayed together under incredible circumstances. The book is not a narrative, but rather, a compilation of letters (over the course of about 9 years) between Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis. While it was interesting to see how their relationship started out, many readers may be disappointed that the bulk of the book spans from 1996 to about 1999. After Davis moved to Arkansas in 1998, the letter-writing tapered off. The book does not include any letters after 2005, which is about the time that the case really started to garner national attention. The letters and responses after about 1997 are a bit schizophrenic; some of the letters reference phone conversations, face-to-face meetings, or other letters (which were either excluded, redacted, or otherwise condensed).

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.

Despite the book's flaws, the letters do give you a sense of what both of these people are like and how they have been able to stay together for so long. Considering some of the intimate and bizarre conversations these two had, I applaud them for being brave enough to release these letters. If you are looking for more insight into what was going on between Davis and Echols once WM3 publicity really started picking up, and/or at the time nearing his release, you will NOT find it in this book. This book is, essentially, about how Echols and Davis' love affair began, the sacrifices Davis made to keep the relationship going, and how they both felt about each other and their future.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
What a wonderful love story 22 juin 2014
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
I was not expecting lots of letters as a book, but I found it fascinating and so intense. A true love and a bond between 2 souls. I read the book in 2 sittings. I read Damien's book earlier and bought this the day it released.
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