Out of the Night: Writings From Death Row by Marie Mulvey Roberts and Benjamin Zephaniah (eds) - review by Elizabeth Imlay

Elizabeth Imlay

American Policy Which is Cruel and Vile

Out of the Night: Writings From Death Row


New Clarion Press 245pp £23.50 hbk £9.95 pbk order from our bookshop

On the cover of Out of the Night is a weeping face. Or is it a wax death mask? At its edges pink drops fall towards a shadowy pillow, above which they float as if in some exquisitely painful dream. It seems the perfect metaphor for the death-in-life state of the condemned prisoner, which in thirty-eight of the fifty-three jurisdictions of America can be prolonged for an indefinite number of years. 

It is hard enough just to read the sorrow and horror condensed into these pages, and credit should be given to the compilers for the dedicated intelligence with which they sifted, chose and arranged writings by prisoners, their families and the pen friends they have gained through an organisation called

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