A classic memoir of prison breaks and adventure . . .
I looked closely at the cell they had put me into. I should never have imagined or believed that a country like mine, a country like France, could possibly possess an establishment of such barbarous repression as the Saint-Joseph solitary confinement prison . . . At once there came to me the thought, "Here, in cell 234, Charriere, nicknamed Papillon, is going to try and live through a sentence of two years, or seven hundred and thirty days, without going mad".
Condemned for a murder he had not committed, Henri Charriere 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 the 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.