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Papillon (P.S.) Paperback – August 1, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
"Papillon" takes a while to get started, and Charriere's elusive and terse tone keeps one from feeling too close to the narrator. He tells you he didn't kill the man the police claim he did, but credits himself for not being a stool pigeon by telling them who did. So he's not exactly Dreyfus here, though he pretends otherwise at times. He mentions a wife and child in the outset almost as afterthoughts, then scarcely refers to them again. No false modesty for this guy - he runs the roost in every clink he is assigned, dispensing wisdom to prisoner and warden alike. No physical challenge is too much for him to overcome, no fellow "mec" too much for him to handle.
Let's put it this way: If Charriere is selling bridges, I ain't buying. But if this is more fiction than fact, "Papillon" still makes for one amazing novel. With minimal pretense at craft, Charriere crafts a white-knuckle, plain-spoken suspense tale that finds our hero in every imaginable predicament - and some not at all imaginable - as he makes attempt after attempt to escape the hell on earth that is French Guiana, the three Iles du Salut (literally "Isles of Salvation"), and ultimately Devil's Island.Read more ›
This autobiography spares no details about the violence and horrors that surrounded the prisoners daily. He loses a number of his friends to disease, or murder. Papillon was generally respected by his fellow prisoners, and the administration. He was quick to criticize the administration to their face. Many of the wardens and doctors even agreed with how screwed up the French justice system was.
Henri is very detailed about his experiences and escapes. He remembers well the people who aided him before, during and after an escape. You will find yourself rooting for Henri with each escape attempt!
There has been some criticism that say that Henri took details from other prisoners' accounts or that some of the anecdotes are made up. Regardless, this autobiographical tale of escape is better than any work of prison escape fiction that can ever be written.
If you can read only one book ,definitely read "Pappillon".
This book is inspirational - no doubt - its inspiration is to gain self-esteem, to fortify yourself against those that would climb your walls to pull you down, but, above all, it is to be human to others around you. The inhumanity suffered by Papillon and others like him were at the hands of those who could not feel for others as Papi and his friends felt for others.
I read that one reviewer tattooed a butterfly on his chest in honour of Henri Charriere, for me, his story is tattooed on my mind. I think of his story and his friends as often as I do my own. The only other equally moving account of the power of friendship is "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck.
My friends, those who have read the book and those thinking about it - all the best!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Quick Read! A great story of determination & the will to fight for freedom at any cost. Nothing like the Movie.Published 9 days ago by Laura
Brilliant. Can't believe I wasn't already familiar with this story. I love a great survival tale and this ticks all the boxes. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
A classic I still remember being a tremendous read. Is it all true...doubt we will ever know.Published 4 months ago by Bobby D.
A riveting account of man's cruelty to man and in the end decency triumphs!Published 4 months ago by Gunter
1931 - 1945 French Guiana, South America. Henri Charriere was sent to French Guiana as a prisoner, from the time of his confinement as a member of a working gang he failed to see... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mitylene Kuc