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Publisher 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.

Biographies & Memoirs
30 January
Harper Perennial
HarperCollins Australia Pty Limited

Customer Reviews

Miteymik ,


I read this book in the 1970s and it had a profound effect on me. I can still after near 40 years recollect the gripping narrative style of this brilliant author. The pictures he painted in words were so graphic and you could feel the brutality of the scenes and feel the pain and despair that permeated the entire story. You could be reading and willing Papillon to overcome his oppressors. At the same time you could feel the fierce determination that bound the whole story together that injustice would not prevail. This book is a must read for any lover of an epic tale.

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