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Papillon (Harper Perennial Modern Classics)
 
 

Papillon (Harper Perennial Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Henri Charrière , June P. Wilson , Walter B. Michaels
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (125 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

A classic memoir of prison breaks and adventure – a bestselling phenomenon of the 1960s

Condemned for a murder he had not committed, Henri Charrière (nicknamed Papillon) was sent to the penal colony of French Guiana. Forty-two days after his arrival he made his first break, travelling a thousand gruelling miles in an open boat. Recaptured, he went into solitary confinement and was sent eventually to Devil’s Island, a hell-hole of disease and brutality. No one had ever escaped from this notorious prison – no one until Papillon took to the shark-infested sea supported only by a makeshift coconut-sack raft. In thirteen years he made nine daring escapes, living through many fantastic adventures while on the run – including a sojourn with South American Indians whose women Papillon found welcomely free of European restraints…

Papillon is filled with tension, adventure and high excitement. It is also one of the most vivid stories of human endurance ever written.

Henri Charrière died in 1973 at the age of 66.

From the Back Cover

Condemned for a murder he had not committed, Henri Charriere (nicknamed Papillon) was sent to the penal colony of French Guiana. Forty-two days after his arrival he made his first break, travelling a thousand gruelling miles in an open boat. Recaptured, he suffered a solitary confinement and was sent eventually to Devil's Island, a hell-hole of disease and brutality. No one had ever escaped from this notorious prison – no one until Papillon took to the shark infested sea supported only by a makeshift coconut-sack raft. In thirteen years he made nine daring escapes, living through many fantastic adventures while on the run – including a sojourn with South American Indians whose women Papillon found welcomely free of European restraints…

'Papillon' is filled with tension, adventure and high excitement. It is also one of the most vivid stories of human endurance ever written.

Henri Charriere died in 1973 at the age of 66.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Want To Put It Down! 14 July 2005
By Stupot
Format:Paperback
This is simply one of my favourite books and a must read for anyone with a sense of adventure. The authors descriptions of the conditions he has to endure during both imprisonment and escape are vivid and this provides the book with a real edge. I often wondered what hell he would have to endure next or which of his colleagues would be left for dead or captured. I read it whilst on holiday and couldn't put it down...worth putting your hand in your pocket for!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Book Ever 24 July 2014
Format:Paperback
I'm quite sure I've read over a thousand books during the last 40 odd years. I've no doubt this is the best book I've ever read in my life. I have now read it three times, once at the age of 12, again at the age of 30, and most recently at the age of 43. Each time the book was fantastic and enthralling. Papillon is wrongly charged with the murder of a pimp, gets convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment, and shipped out to the Hell hole of Devil's Island in French Guiana. Papillon befriends several fellow cons, including a master fraudster named Degas, and makes numerous thrilling escape attempts through the inhospitable swamps and jungles. He has a nerve-shredding encounter with a group of lepers, who take a liking to him, and assist him in one of his escapes. He finds a tropical island paradise where he befriends a tribe's leader, and becomes involved with one of the local women. What is most gripping, is his depiction of his hatred for the men responsible for his imprisonment. He fantasises about what he will do to his prosecutor if he ever finds him. He paces his small cell back and forth, over and over again, countless times, his sheer frustration and desperation about the unfairness of what has happened to him, leaps out at you from each page, you feel that you are sat there right next to him on his bed, it is really that involving. This book has been about for close to 50 years now and it is truly a masterpiece. A film based on the book was made in the 1970's with Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, which was a decent stab at translating the book onto the big screen, but simply nowhere near as good as the novel. I can't recommend this book highly enough, it is constantly gripping and moving, and from the first to last page, you find yourself rooting for Papillon and hoping that his life will turn out okay.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down the best book I've read! 9 Dec 2004
Format:Paperback
What an amazing book! No other book has captured my imagination as strongly as Papillon. It is a true account of a man sentenced to life imprisonment in the French penal colony of French Guiana and his many attempts to escape.
It is superbly paced and flows so well that it's almost impossible to find a point where it can be put down so you can get your breath back! Charriere manages to encompass just about every emotion and through all the adversity and suffering there is still plenty of room for some wicked slices of humour.
At a push, two slight criticisms: Throughout, he claims to be innocent of the crime that he was punished for (which I am a little dubious about after reading some of his exploits!); and I also felt he was a bit "over-modest" and too superhuman at times, but this does not taint the quality of the story at all...just minor niggles!
Also recommended is "Banco", the sequel to Papillon, in which Charriere describes his life on the straight and narrow....yeah,right.
Last point: Why on earth wasn't there a better film made? Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman are brilliant but the film was desperately disappointing. It would have been better to have made two or three 2-hour films (a la Kane and Abel) and done the book justice.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Papillon is the most moving true account of a time in a life I have had the luck to read. I have read all the reviews both here and on the US site. Though it is the final word on perseverance, this is not the beauty of this book. No, it is not the narration, nor even the man himself or the breadth and depth of his adventures (though awesome). For me, it is the clear message that friendship is the greatest gift a person can have and give. It is friendship that allowed him to escape, to realize his dreams, to write his story. Where would he be without the kind Priest, how would he have planned the escape without Sierra, and what can you feel but shame (as did Papillon!) after the generosity of the lepers - how wholesome they seemed in their nature if not in their bodies. The examples are endless ( unlike this review - luckily! ) but the lesson is singular and clear.
This book is inspirational - no doubt - it inspires self-esteem, to fortify yourself against those that would climb your walls to pull you down, but, above all, it inspires me to be human to others. 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 (God this sounds like I'm preaching! ).
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!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars My first read was the best
For decades I thought my fascination with this book was because it was the first "grown-up" book I read at the age of 12. Read more
Published 2 days ago by G. Halldórsson
5.0 out of 5 stars Its a one of story thats true to life and ...
Its a one of story thats true to life and you would never think one man could go through that experience, its a life changer for me,
Published 13 days ago by Terry Atkinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great evergreen
Published 16 days ago by Cyril Marek
5.0 out of 5 stars No complaints.
Good delivery , Great read,, and of course being true, well pleased ..
Published 23 days ago by roberts
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Classic book everyone should read.
Published 28 days ago by Funkyhermana
4.0 out of 5 stars good read
An interesting well written book. I enjoyed it and can see why it is a classic. Would recommend to anyone who likes real life stories
Published 2 months ago by vcn19
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome
Read the short version of this in one of bear grylls survival books, had to get the full book, gripping story, couldn't put it down. A must read.
Published 2 months ago by Kathryn Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars amazing story
An amazing story. Couldn't put the book down. Was almost unbelievable that someone went through all of this adventure on their path to freedom
Published 2 months ago by DAi
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic!
Well written, I read this many years ago and decided to take it on holiday and read again, and I am so glad I did as I thourghly enjoyed it.
Published 2 months ago by A.boyd
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
One of the best books I have ever read. A Fascinating story of an improbable journey with many twists and turns.
Highly recommended
Published 4 months ago by Mr S B Jarvand
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