Sunday, July 24, 2016

Five top stories about prison life

Erwin James is a Guardian columnist. He served 20 years of a life sentence in prison before his release in August 2004. His books include two collections of essays, A Life Inside: A Prisoner's Notebook and The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole, and Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope.

One of James's five best stories about prison life, as shared at the Guardian:
The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner by Alan Sillitoe

This titular tale in this short story collection follows a boy called Smith who is sent to borstal for robbing a bakery. There he becomes a cross-country runner – such a good one that he becomes the governor’s hope for a PR coup when Smith is pitched to race in a competition against students at a local public school. In the race he streaks ahead of the field, only to stop yards from the finishing line in a supreme act of defiance that demonstrates the freedom of his mind and his spirit against the bleak and repressive borstal regime. Sillitoe understood that you can imprison the body, but the mind will always be free.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue