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Papillon (French) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Jul 1974

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Papillon + Ou J'ai Laisse Mon Ame + Intolérable : Groupe d'information sur les prisons
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Pocket (1 July 1974)
  • Language: French
  • ISBN-10: 2266118358
  • ISBN-13: 978-2266118354
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Geoff Crocker on 6 Feb. 2014
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Henri Charrière’s account of his multiple escapes from French and other penal colonies in South America is gripping and a good read – a classical swashbuckling yarn. It soon becomes clear however that this is fantasy rather than a true story. His exploits stretch way beyond the point of credibility, and his own role is always embellished with bravado. It rates less well as the novel it really is, than it would as the autobiography it claims to be. Charrière himself claimed it was 75% true, although he had originally offered it as a novel. French journalist Gerard de Villiers reckoned only 10% was true!

Nevertheless the critique Charrière makes of the cruel inhumane French penal code and practice of the time, which he does describe accurately, is cogent and well expressed. The exhibition at St Martin de Ré shows exactly how appalling it all was.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By MR DANIEL P COVE on 13 Jan. 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A brilliant read, and a great way of improving my French that didn't require boring exercises. I'd definitely recommend it to any French speakers or those with A-Level French.
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Format: Paperback
The greatest adventure story ever told and its all true. Writen with a magnificent sense of humour at times you wont know whether to laugh or cry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 7 reviews
an intrepid journey of the hero through a series of hells 6 July 2007
By Matt Hill - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
A petty thief wrongfully convicted of murder by a French court in 1931. The bulk of this narrative, and it is a tremendous one, is this man's incarcerations in penal colonies in French Guyana: the many escape scenarios and attempts; the final escape to the mainland; and 2 years living with the local Indians.

Charriere's writing style is spontaneous, lucid, and totally without pretense; real storytelling prowess. The storylines are inbued with perserverance, grit, and undercurrents of humor. He never surrenders to despair; his sense of intrepid survival and courage sustain him throughout the 13 years of his imprisonments. The will to live is the engine that drives these riveting episodes.

The question of the authenticity of this narrative, like the Castaneda books, arises; but ultimately, it doesn't matter if this story is true or not. This is an adventure story; and hyperbole is always involved in the narration of any adventure, regardless of degree. It is the power of the storyteller that mesmerizes the listener/reader in this, a hero's journey. In this case, it is a journey of liberation from a series of hells.

After reading this book, you will come away feeling enriched by this man's intrepid spirit. Highly recommended.

Extracts: A Field Guide for Iconoclasts
Fantastic Bravado! 23 Oct. 2014
By Geoff Crocker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Henri Charrière’s account of his multiple escapes from French and other penal colonies in South America is gripping and a good read – a classical swashbuckling yarn. It soon becomes clear however that this is fantasy rather than a true story. His exploits stretch way beyond the point of credibility, and his own role is always embellished with bravado. It rates less well as the novel it really is, than it would as the autobiography it claims to be. Charrière himself claimed it was 75% true, although he had originally offered it as a novel. French journalist Gerard de Villiers reckoned only 10% was true!

Nevertheless the critique Charrière makes of the cruel inhumane French penal code and practice of the time, which he does describe accurately, is cogent and well expressed. The exhibition at St Martin de Ré shows exactly how appalling it all was.

Geoff Crocker Editor Atheist Spirituality web site
Most inspiring story to date 25 Feb. 2011
By eric duvauchelle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read the book twice now, and i still can't believe what he went through. Seems so archaic of a system.

I have been deeply inspired by his relentless quest for freedom.

Really engaging, forget the movie it doesn't do the book justice.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Superb if Fictionalized Story 23 Jun. 2008
By K.A.Goldberg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a gripping adventure story about imprisonment and escape. Henry Charriere (1906-1973), or Papilon, was a French criminal sentenced to life for murder (he claimed innocence) in 1931. Readers follow as he arrives across the Atlantic Ocean at the penal colony in Guiana (South America) for a life of hard labor under the hot sun. Papilon set his sights on escape, and flees on a small boat to Columbia, where he is captured and re-imprisoned. Escaping again, Papilon lives with some coastal Indians, moves on, and again is captured. Eventually returned to Guiana, Papilon endures two years in solitary confinement. Then he escapes by boat to Venezuela, ends up imprisoned there, and is set free in 1945. Readers follow his every move with great interest, but we don't know how much of this narrative is true - all, most, or some. Whatever the facts, this is a gripping story of adventure, daring, justice (or injustice), and escape.

The book is somewhat different than the also-superb 1972 movie starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman. Also, Charierre married and ran a resturant in Venezeula, returned to France as this book arrived in 1969, and put out another (BANCO) before dying of cancer in 1973. Then, in 2005, a 104-year old ex-convict named Charles Brunier (1901-2007) claimed he was Papilon, adding to the mystery.
Papillon (french edition) 20 Nov. 2011
By Josh - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the understated classics of the 20th century.... always best to read in original language. Will read and re-read for years to come.
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