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4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  29,001 ratings  ·  952 reviews
Henri Charrière, called "Papillon," for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 of a murder he did not commit. Sentenced to life imprisonment in the penal colony of French Guiana, he became obsessed with one goal: "escape." After planning and executing a series of treacherous yet failed attempts over many years, he was eventually sent to the notor ...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published August 1st 2006 by Turtleback Books (first published 1969)
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My mother knew Papillon and another one of the characters in the book (Francoise). He was a customer of my uncle's restaurant Il Padrino, in Venezuela, back in the 60's,70's (after this story was told). My brother was just an infant/toddler at this time and they would take turns throwing him in the air, swinging him, etc.. I told this guy Neil about this and he was shocked that my family knew this guy. He had read the book and loved it so much. So as a gift, he gave me a copy of the book.

This b
What a story! Papillon is an autobiographical novel about a man who in 1931 was charged with killing someone (of course, the author claims he was innocent) and he was sentenced to a life of hard labor at a penal colony in French Guiana.

After many weeks of planning, he managed to escape on a raft and sailed hundreds of miles to Colombia. He spent several months living happily in a fishing village -- with not one but two wives! -- but he was eventually picked up by the authorities and sent back t
Dec 08, 2006 Elizabeth rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adventure Novel lovers
This book is incredible. It is the TRUE story of a prison break from a penal colony in French Guiana which was later made into a movie with Steve McQueen--another of my favorites. If you liked Shawshank, you'll love Papillon.

Henri Charrier, called Papillon for the butterfly tattoo on his chest, was convicted in Paris in 1931 for a murder he did not convict and was shipped off to French Guiana. It takes years and several failed attempts for Papillion to escape in this nail-biting story of amazin
Papillon was an enjoyable enough summer read; it was just a little hard to suspend my disbelief at times for a supposedly nonfiction endeavor. I was unsurprised to see in my post-reading research that large portions the story were disputed and that several of Charriere's fellow inmates have claimed over the years that he incorporated the experiences of other would-be escapees and presented them as his own story. I guess this book was a precursor of sorts to A Million Little Pieces in that both a ...more
Jun 25, 2007 Nidhi rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Wow! yes
Its my favorite book till date. One word for it - WOW..Its just amazing and the way the author has described the life of a man in the prisons is amazing. Its wonderful how he tells this man's story spanning so many years. I saw this movie as a kid..I must be very young then maybe class 5 or younger..and ever since then I had a desire in me to read this book whenever I get a chance.

Papillon means butterfly and it symbolises the protagonists' desire to get free from the clutches of jail. The vivi
Aaron Arnold
I don't care if this book wasn't a 100% factual, honest-to-God documentary account of what actually happened to this guy - it was a magnificent adventure novel, full of blood and drama and action. From what I can tell, Charrière cobbled the narrative out of his own experiences as a prisoner in the pitiless camps of 1930s French Guyana, plus the stories of a few camp-mates, plus his own dramatic license, emerging with a masterpiece. There were many moments where the story is less than totally pla ...more
سمية عبد العزيز

أفضل أن أكون مجرماً على أن أكون سجّاناً
هكذا قال بابليون
الفتى الفرنسي الذي اُتهم زوراً بجريمة قتل أودعته السجن المؤبد
العدالة الفرنسية جعلته يتمنى هذه الأمنية
جحيث أغلب السجّانين مجرمون حقيقيون وأغلب المسجونين أبرياء أو متهمون بقضايا تافهة
معاصرته السجناء وإخلاصهم ووفائهم لبعضهم بعض جعلته يتمنى هذه الأمنية فليس المهم في أي جانب أنت
ليس المهم أن تكون الأفضل بنظر المجتمع والحكومة بل المهم ما تحمله من روح داخلك
هل هي حقاً روح إنسان!! يشفق على أخيه الإنسان ويهتم به ويرعاه
أم روح حقودة تتمنى الشر للآخر وتقص
So fascinating, haunting; you feel the pain and ecstasy. No escape till the last page, you sail along all 'Cavale' with them.

Even though the author is silent all throughout the novel, on the plot of his conviction for murder in France except by saying that he was innocent, we really feel that he was really innocent. This, the author succeeds to prove through various instances in the novel. We also feel many occasions unbelievable where we see he is recognized instantly, and many show sympathy to
mai ahmd
بابليون الفراشة الباحثة عن النور عن الحرية بعد أن فقدها على إثر جريمة فقد على إثرها حياته بالحكم عليه بالسجن المؤبد في سجون فرنسا التي مارست أبشع أنواع الإضطهاد ضد المحكومين , بابي ذا النفس المتمردة والرافضة للخضوع لا ينفك يفكر في الهروب لتحقيق حلمه بالحرية , لاينفك يحلم بالإنتقام ممن كانوا سببا في وقوعه في هذه المحنة القاسية التي حرمته من عائلته وهو في مقتبل العمر , يقوم بابي بتسعة محاولات للهروب من سجانه تعرض بعد كل منها لعقاب لايمكن أن يوصف , كل الأهوال التي عاشها بابي ومنها فقده للأصدقاء إما ...more
I was blown away by this book ... by the strength of character displayed by the author (admittedly not always a character to be unreservedly liked), by the mad adventures he undertook, and by the amazing richness of a life that a court tried to throw into a hole and forget about.

There is something so fundamentally heartening about Papillon’s refusal to remain incarcerated for a crime he did not commit (though he ends his tale by admitting that he was a character ripe to be accused of it) that hi
Henri Charrière recounts his life in prison. Several prisons actually. Even though Charrière's story proceeds that of Leonard Fry I read somewhere that Charrière's recounting of events was not entirely accurate. That same little detail Fry was pinned down to the chair for on Oprah Winfrey's show. I suppose this is a matter of importance for some, but for me, I just want to read their story. In all honestly there were times where Charrière definitely inflated himself.

Charrière breaks out of jail
aljouharah altheeyb
تصف هذه الملحمة الإنسانية قصة رجل كافح بأشد مايمكن لهذه الكلمة من معنى ليصنع حريته الخاصة غصباً عن الشرطة والقانون والمجتمع بأسره!
هنري شاريير رجلٌ حُكم عليه بالسجن بسبب جريمة لم يرتكبها “ على حسب قوله”، وأرسل إلى جزيرة غويان الفرنسية “ ثلاث جزر صغيرة مخصصة حصراً لتكون سجناً” . في البداية لم أفهم الأمر، كيف لمجرم أثبت القانون إجرامه أن يسهب في وصف الحياة الشريفة ويصر وبشكل عجيب على تطبيق العدل وإحقاق الحق؟! كيف لرجل وضع تحت اسمه عبارة “ خطر جداً” أن يتحدث وبحماسة شديدة عن الشرف وكلمة الرجال وإسد
Marcio Tomazela
This is the Best book I ever read.

I remember I started to read it when I was 14, and during long travels to sorocaba city I used to read a little of it, getting back in favourite parts.

Henri Charrière did something completally amazing. Not one, but two: First was the escaping itself, from Devil Island.. secound was to describle this with perfect details, something that makes us imagine each movement and each scene...

His passion for life made he survive to a unfair punishment and escape from many
 Linda (Miss Greedybooks)
I wanted to read this book so badly - I was in 7th grade, my sister wanted to take drivers education. She did not want to ride her bike alone, so she bribed me. Allowing me to read on the church steps while I waited for her lesson to be over. BUT I GOT TO READ THE BOOK! I really liked it. The descriptions were so vivid, the story so gripping. I do not know where my sister got the book, I seriously doubt she had read it. OMG Epiphany! It was my dad's book! He gave it to her to bribe me with so sh ...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
‘Dear Papillon, you’ve done everything humanly possible to get back your freedom. Fate has been cruel to you. All that is left is for you to blow up the prison.’

Freedom, that is what Papillon was born to fight for. Talk about purpose and destiny. Clyde Griffith was born to fight for class and prestige in the American Tragedy. We are all born for something, how we fight to get them, to reach them, is up to us.

But it is your God given right to fight for what is yours. Whether love, freedom, wealth
Ce livre autobiographique a inspiré en 1973 le film du même nom de Franklin J. Schaffner avec Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman. Très controversé ce livre de souvenirs n’est en fait qu’un assemblage de ses propres anecdotes mêlées à des histoires de compagnons de bagnes. Autrement dit, Charrière se serait largement inspiré des vies d’autres forçats pur écrire son livre. Toutefois les aventures qu’il décrit, s’il est difficile voire impossible de savoir lesquelles peuvent lui être attribuées, n’en es ...more
Adam Rabiner
Naysayers jumped on Henri Charriere's, aka Papillon, autobiography from the start, calling into question the truth of his harrowing tales of escapes and captures from a penal colony in French Guiana in the 1930s and 40s. The adventures detailed here may in fact not all be those of Papillon. Perhaps Charriere did synthesize the cavales of many other bagnards and claim them all as his own. But that should not really detract from the harrowing adventures contained in this book. They convey a truth ...more
Nathan Whittle
Papillon was a real page turner for me, as I both marveled at Charrière's audacity and perseverance in his escapes, as well as recoiling in the barbarity of the early 20th century prison system. As to accusations that much of Papillon is fiction, here is my personal take on it- I don't really care. sure, the truth is what is best but whether Charrière or another inmate attempted these various escapes, or even whether these events occurred at all doesn't matter to me- it is a masterful book, show ...more
Another one of those books always in the periphery of the "to-read" list. Having read much about this book in terms of the authenticity of Charriere's life story and version of events, I actually wanted to read it even more.

It is certainly my opinion that the way the book reads seems to back up that Charriere did add things or use other convicts stories. The way that 'Papillon' seems to be central, essential and omnipresent to every significant event, his incredible influence at various key poin
i. merey
Damn, but I love the 'redemption' genre! I'm sure there's an official genre title, but that's what I call it. You know the deal: 'Shawshank Redemption', 'A Million Little Pieces', 'Shantaram'.
...The protagonist is thrown into jail (or a mental institution)... often on a drummed up charge. Fighting tooth and nail to survive incarceration with the spirit intact, hungering to escape and punish those who put them there to begin with.

OR the book starts right after the jail-break, and the protag wants
Papillon  by Henri Charrière
OK, it's been a while since I finished this book, but I still have some strong feelings about it. It's an autobiography of a French man convicted of murder at the beginning of last century and shipped off to a penal colony that was eventually shut down for its deplorable conditions. He spends several decades attempting to escape (and re-escape) and exact revenge on those responsible for his conviction.

And there's the problem. He says he's not guilty, but doesn't provide a convincing arugment, j
This book is an absolute page turner. I read it many years ago and then again recently. The synopsis is slightly misleading in that Henri aka Papillion was sentenced to life in prison for a murder he did commit. He killed a pimp who was after his sister never believing any judge would find him guilty enough for such a horrific sentence. The French penal colonies make a stay in Sağmalcılar seem like a vacation. The film adaptation while a terrific movie only scratches the surface of Henri's tribu ...more
Para ser lo mas concisa posible: increíble. Es un libro en el que siempre está ocurriendo algo, siempre hay un nuevo acontecimiento. Nunca se detiene. Es decir, es casi imposible que alguien pueda aburrirse con el. Si realmente te envolviste en el libro, cuando lo termines de leer vas a sentir que necesitas saber más. Las ultimas líneas sin duda son la obtención de la meta que Papillon persiguió durante años, pero aún queda mucho mas, muchas mas aventuras, fracasos y victorias, como el mismo las ...more
Lucas Pires Morais
Independent Reading
6th October 12
By Henri Charriere, Classic Biography, 544 Pages
This book follows the story of Henry Charriere, more commonly known as “Papillon”, for the butterfly tattoo he has on his chest. Papillon was wrongly accused of murdering a pimp in France and was sentenced to life in prison. He requested that he would be sent to the French Guiana prison, called the Bagne. Although conditions of life were much harsher there, Papillon knew this was th
Cary Griffith
I love adventure reads. When my son told me about this book, he described it with such accolades - 'an incredible adventure story, a roaring ride' - I knew I had to read it. I was familiar with the Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman movie (loosely based on the book). But I was unprepared for how much richer, fuller, complete and compelling this book actually turned out to be.
Back to my son, Nick. He talked it up so long and so well I told him if it was that good, why not make it my Christmas gift. H
Se devo essere sincera, non credo a una parola di quanto racconta questo presunto romanzo-verità, se non all’atmosfera generale, che pare avere basi più solide. Ad ogni modo, sia esso veritiero o no, ha sicuramente il pregio di catturare l’attenzione. O, almeno, lo ha avuto negli anni in cui è stato pubblicato. E’ stato infatti, negli anni ’70, un successo travolgente, un caso letterario che ha coinvolto l’interesse mondiale.

Debbo dire che lo ricordo anch’io con piacere. Non lo rileggerei mai,
I have taken this as a work of fiction rather than a memoir, as there are a lot of debates over the truthfulness of some of the stories remembered by Charriere. The fact is that he was imprisoned several years in French Guyana and for me it matters less if the story is exactly what he did there or taken from several other inmates.

So, as a work of fiction, I greatly appreciated the message the author tried to transmit. Indeed the French punitive system at that time resembled the Russian Gulag, wh
So this is, like, TOTALLY going to be the year that I finish all the books my book club is reading. I say this because this is book number 2 and I also finished book number 1. Wazzzzup.

This is a memoir about life in and escaping from French penal colonies in French Guiana. Very interesting. However, as with many memoirs the memoirist's point of view gets in the way. Or maybe my awareness of the memoirist's point of view gets in the way. At any rate, I found myself thinking, "Really? Did everyone
May 30, 2010 Karen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Karen by: Dad
Firstly what I learned from this book is that sometimes Dad is right and I owe him an apology. He said I would like this and find it engrossing, I doubted him afterall the very fact that the book was written tells you that he did escape.
Despite knowing that eventually Papillon would succeed in his attempt to escape I found myself routing for him with each attempt,even though I knew that most of these attempts were doomed to failure and that it would only be with the ninth attempt that he would f
Michelle Lines
This was undeniably an amazing story of one man's courage, determination and perserverance. I wanted to *love* it enough to give it 5 stars, but I felt something was lacking in that I did not feel fully connected and immersed in the story. I think maybe it had to do with the writing style? Also, maybe if it had been more emotional/revelational vs what I found to be a mostly factual reiteration of the events, then I would have felt a stronger connection to Papillon.
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Henri Charrière was a convicted murderer chiefly known as the author of Papillon, a hugely successful memoir of his incarceration in and escape from a penal colony on French Guiana.
More about Henri Charrière...
Banco: The Further Adventures of Papillon Papillon / Banco

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“We have too much technological
progress, life is too hectic, and our society has only one goal: to invent
still more technological marvels to make life even easier and better.
The craving for every new scientific discovery breeds a hunger for
greater comfort and the constant struggle to achieve it. All that kills the
soul, kills compassion, understanding, nobility. It leaves no time for
caring what happens to other people, least of all criminals. Even the
officials in Venezuela's remote areas are better for they're also
concerned with public peace. It gives them many headaches, but they
seem to believe that bringing about a man's salvation is worth the
effort. I find that magnificent.”
“This was 1941 and I'd been in prison eleven years. I was thirty-five. I'd spent the best years of my life either in a cell or in a black-hole. I'd only had seven months of total freedom with my Indian tribe. The children my Indian wives must have had by me would be eight years old now. How terrible! How quickly the time had flashed by! But a backward glance showed all these hours and minutes studding my calvary as terribly long, and each one of them hard to bear.” 6 likes
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