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Papillon (P.S.) Paperback – August 1, 2006
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“A modern classic of courage and excitement.” (Janet Flanner (Gênet), The New Yorker)
“[Papillon] is the ultimate hero defying the ultimate system of oppression and succeeding by dint of will, optimism...[and] a sense of honor given only to West Point graduates and Paris thieves.” (New York Times)
“The greatest adventure story of all time.” (Auguste Le Breton)
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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
Had seen the movie previously to reading the book. Both are great, but, as usual, the book gives so much more insight to the story. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christopher M. Quinn
Very good- at least the subject is not another who done it ! Very touching and true story.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
For those looking for a story of adventure and perseverance, look no further. Excellent story about the strength of the human mind and the relentless pursuit of freedom.Published 1 month ago by tgregs
This book is a real page turner. It's so incredible that there were numerous occasions where I forgot the book is actually a true story. Very hard to put down.Published 1 month ago by K. Nusbaum
Henri Charrier-Papillon-a figure in the Parisian underworldfinds himself fitted up for the murder of a ponce and sentenced to life in the penal colony of Guiana; most notably... Read morePublished 1 month ago by An admirer of Saul