A Grip of Time (prison slang for a very long sentence behind bars) takes listeners into a world most know little about-a maximum-security prison-and into the minds and hearts of the men who live there. These men, who are serving out life sentences for aggravated murder, join a fledgling Lifers' Writing Group started by award-winning author Lauren Kessler. Over the course of three years, meeting twice a month, the men reveal more and more about themselves, their pasts, and the alternating drama and tedium of their incarcerated lives. As they struggle with the weight of their guilt and wonder if they should hope for a future outside prison walls, Kessler struggles with the fiercely competing ideas of rehabilitation and punishment, forgiveness and blame that are at the heart of the American penal system. Gripping, intense, and heartfelt, A Grip of Time: When Prison Is Your Life shows what a lifetime with no hope of release looks like up-close.
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"Both author and narrator deliver high-quality work in this audiobook. Kessler is journalist and teacher who went inside Oregon State Penitentiary to teach writing to men serving life terms for murder. Narrator Hollis McCarthy does a good job portraying both the teacher and the inmates. She conveys empathy for the men while evoking deep sympathy for their victims, both the dead and their loved ones. The audiobook is not entirely grim. There are moments of humor and joy. There are also boredom, frustration, and grief--most of the men are haunted by their crimes. McCarthy's performance avoids the pitfalls of being overly censorious of or pitying toward the inmates. This is a very good, clear-eyed audiobook. G.S. © AudioFile 2019, Portland, Maine"
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