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Papillon

Papillon

Written by Henri Charriere

Narrated by Michael Prichard


Papillon

Written by Henri Charriere

Narrated by Michael Prichard

ratings:
4.5/5 (51 ratings)
Length:
18 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 12, 2012
ISBN:
9780062228765
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

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 notorious prison, Devil's Island, a place from which no one had ever escaped . . . until Papillon. His flight to freedom remains one of the most incredible feats of human cunning, will, and endurance ever undertaken.

Charrière's astonishing autobiography, Papillon, was published in France to instant acclaim in 1968, more than twenty years after his final escape. Since then, it has become a treasured classic -- the gripping, shocking, ultimately uplifting odyssey of an innocent man who would not be defeated.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 12, 2012
ISBN:
9780062228765
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Born in 1906, and imprisoned in 1931, Henri Charrière finally escaped in 1945 to Venuzuela, where he married, settled in Caracas, and opened a restaurant. He died in 1973.



Reviews

What people think about Papillon

4.3
51 ratings / 27 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Henry Charriere was a quiet, mild inmate who stayed out of trouble. He did his time in the prisons of French Guiana and was eventually given privileges to go on errands on the outside. When the time was right, he simply walked away to freedom in Venezuela. Years later he decided to write a novel. Using his experiences as a kernel of truth he created the legend of Papillon ("Butterfly"). Unlike Charriere, Papillon was a man's man, the con's con who would kill at the drop of a hat but who remained respected by even the guards and wardens for his honor and nobility. There was nothing Papillon could not do - catch more fish than anyone, sail so well as to be praised by the British navy, love and impregnate two native women at once, break from prison with impunity, cause the wardens wife to swoon and save his children from sharks. Papillon was not real, he was a comic book hero, but Henry Charriere was a real man. Unfortunately Henry decided to publish the book as an autobiography and it's suffered ever since as one critic after the next has picked it apart. If he had instead published it as novel, critics would be left wondering how much of it was actually true, and the author and his reputation would have benefited.Whatever the debates on the novels false claims, the story is still very good because Papillon the character retains his humanity, his honor and dignity, in a world determined to destroy it. It's a microcosm of the issues in Europe during the Second Thirty Years War (1914-1945). Charriere blames technology and its emphasis on the machine and systems over individuals, he says the primitive peoples are the most honorable and human, while the most technologically advanced are barbaric and evil. From the perspective of the time, it would seem to be the case. There have been a number of books written about men who escaped World War Two to live alone in wild parts of the world: Papillon, Seven Years in Tibet, The Sheltering Desert, Kabloona, an interesting genre that I look forward to finding more. Papillon is also just a great prison escape adventure story, entertaining and immersive.
  • (5/5)
    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 finally succeed.
    I actually found some of the other people in this story far more interesting than Papillon himself, like the lepers he meets during his first attempt who give him food,shelter and money to try and also sell him a boat and gun at discount prices to try and help him get to the South American mainland so that maybe he can have the freedom that because of their leprosy they could never have even if they were to escape.

    Thank you Dad for the recommendation.
  • (5/5)
    A fast-paced book, for sure. I originally read the book nearly 50 ears ago when it came out. Thought it was amazing then, think the same now. it ma have been part of the impetus to get me traveling, although that probably has other origins.It is a bit hard to believe at times, but taken on the whole, I suspect tis mostly right and true to Charriere's memory. As we get older people do tend to dramatize and egotistically remember how things played out. If even a small portion of what he's written is true, he led a charmed life. Good adventure book that speaks poorly of the French.A birthday present from Sarah.
  • (2/5)
    OK. Let's be clear. This is a work of fiction. Its companions are Robinson Crusoe and Heart of Darkness, but with more of a boy's own adventure riff. Frankly, I found it a bit tiresome even with my credulity in suspension.
  • (5/5)
    An amazing story about an innocent man's will to survive and escape the abhorrent conditions of the French penal institutions in Guiana in 1931.It is book full of adventure, intrigue, friendship,sorrow, joy, heartache, revenge, life, persistence and fate!it's a gripping story and a page turner.
  • (5/5)
    Remarkable epic. A man I would love to have met and shared a coffee and a smoke. Henri's story makes me wonder what life was and is like outside of my small 4 walls.....