Finished the book for the second time today and the first time I really loved it, but this time around I read it with a more critical eye. I believe the story to be true, but the characters, Papillion in particular, I find quite unlikely. Feels like he wants to pay back all the people that helped him by making them look good in the book. All the nice people are simply too nice och too honest. And everytime Papillion does anything, he does it so much better than anyone.
>>By Jonas (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 19:17)
having just finished my second reading of papillon, i too am freshly inspired by this wonderful book. we should all look to gain a little insight on great heartedness, magnanimity, and courage from reading it.
to those who find papillon and some of his abilites unlikely, my thoughts are this: in order to escape from such a place, under such constant pressure, and at such grave risk to himself and others that he loved, Papi had to do what other great men do....developed an unwaivering belief in himself (the only person he could truly rely on)the sort of ego that true leaders possess and losers and pretenders crave. this does creep into the narrative but i do not begrudge it him .If any man should be proud of himself it should be the man....... Henri Charrierre.
>>By Martin (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 19:17)
many people don't know that while Papillon was in confinement he wrote a book of songs and poems. His handwriting is beautiful though i can't understand much of the French...just thought I'd let you all know.
>>By great great (etc etc) grandson of Papillon (Saturday, 25 Jan 2003 19:17)
Has anybody got pics of real Henri Charriere??? His hunger for free life fascinates me everytime I read Papillon. I´d like to see his real face and compare it with my imagines. Thanks a lot. My e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
>>By Martin - Czech Republic (Monday, 24 Feb 2003 15:50)
I liked the book. Even though I read it because my french teacher asked me to (I am french). But what I've heard is that quite a few things that are written in the book weren't done by Papillon, but by other prisoners. Charrière just heard the story, and wrote it down. In the end, it gives something that doesn't look very human. It's just too much.
Aside from that, I find him very stoic. I mean, you don't usually stay cool when you've killed a man. Especially when it's your first time. The same when his friends die. I liked the book, but I think that too much i fiction for it to be called an autobiography.
By the way, I have a picture of Henri Charrière, on the back of my book. It was taken toward the end of his life.
>>By chakobsa (Wednesday, 26 Feb 2003 22:06)
Papillon is simply the best ! It`s Unbelievable !!!
>>By Miha - from Slovenia (Wednesday, 12 Mar 2003 12:22)
Have just finished reading Papillon...how much of it was the truth? I don't know and I am not the one to decide. Makes me question my own attitude towards 'criminals'. Would I go out of my way to help an escaped prisoner who lands up at my doorstep? Probably not. Must be many Papis out there, who unfairly judged, do not even get a chance to relate their stories. And above all, the book makes me wonder about God. Papi in his heart, among the sun, sea, and jungles, found God. Does one have to go through such inhuman torture to discover Him? The French penal settlements, even the well disguised tortorous prison systems that exist today, must make sense in some pattern. I fail to see it. I wonder which world would Henri be now, amongst the land of butterflies.
>>By Ridley (Saturday, 15 Mar 2003 23:25)
It was the first book of considerable length I read:) I was then 13 years old! Now I am 33 years old and I have just read it again - it is still a great book. I strongly recommend it to those who loves a good story.
Bergen, Norway 21st of March 2003
>>By Staale - Norway (Friday, 21 Mar 2003 22:08)
The book was very good, but I really have difficulty believing all of it. Are the stories really true? I haven't read Banco, does it explain did Papillon ever see his two Venezuelan wives again?
>>By Ben (Tuesday, 25 Mar 2003 10:22)
For all those who call this story fiction, it is not. It it a true story and Henri's life. This a great book. Period. He should have stayed with his pearl eating lover....
>>By Pascal (Wednesday, 26 Mar 2003 02:45)
I'm reading "Banco" right now, I've read "Papillon" a few times in the past years. Both great books! In "Banco" the names are the real ones, as he wrote the book when he was about 65yrs old and already famous.
Ben, so far nothing allows me to believe that Papillon ever saw his Guajira wives again...And this doesn't surprise me!
I'm trying to find a picture of him on the web.
>>By Bogdan C.-Romania (Thursday, 27 Mar 2003 08:51)
Just watched the movie............again for the umpteenth time, I finally found it on dvd. Great movie. I read the book a couple of years back and of course that's even better (like duh), one of the most compelling stories I've ever read.
I'm curious if Henri Charriere wrote more books, I see "Banco", but is there any more?
>>By Bakema NL (Thursday, 27 Mar 2003 23:29)
Also just watched the movie, surprised by the lack of internet available material on Papillon. Incredibly I have only truly watched it several times since it first came out, and finally at this point, totally appreciative. To me, the unquenchable spirit of Henri, speaks for the greatness of soul possible in man, to achieve freedom, in spite of cost, in spite of all odds against it...truly inspiring! As to problems believing it all...I know..there are many things in my life I too find unbelievable, and am certain others would disbelieve...and that is ok.
>>By Michael G. Boisen (Sunday, 30 Mar 2003 17:19)
It is the best book i have ever reed. How a man can live his life like Henri Charriere? I am wondering if he has children and I am thinking about him and his story every day and every night....email@example.com
>>By TiTi (Monday, 31 Mar 2003 13:15)
where can i find one pics, on web, of hHenry, PAPILLON,Charrière??
HELP ME!!!!!!! my mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
>>By orione (Tuesday, 1 Apr 2003 15:18)
I`ve just red the book, and i was truly facinated. If its true or not is a question i really dont mind doubt the answers of. I will believe it because then the story gives me more, and to know that some people really experience that kind of things gives me something to think thurly trough. I did allso buy the DVD (on amazone.uk), and there is a special ten minutes feature at the end with interwiew an tellings of Henri Charriere, showing and talking of some memories during the making of the movie....
>>By glenn/norway (Wednesday, 2 Apr 2003 12:18)
To Archie on who came on page 1, if you read this im doing some research on Henri Charriere or Papillion and it would be great if you could tell me more. Or if anyone knows anything about him that he doesnt talk about in the book e-mail me at
>>By Matt (Saturday, 5 Apr 2003 07:21)
People often question the truth of this story, because it is such
a remarkable tale. The reason Papi seemed to do everything
he tried so well- so well in fact, that people continue to have
their doubts as to the validity of what he wrote- is simply
because he was a man that absolutely refused to be ground
down by the cogs and wheels of our machine society, and he
never gave up on himself, even in the moments when his
courage nearly failed him and he felt like giving in and dying.
The individual can always outwit the herd, and when Papi
saw through the lies of the administration and refused to be
conditioned by the slow torture inflicted upon him by the French
Penal system and conform to the hypocrisies of the establishment he transcended to a higher state of conscious-
ness and found superhuman strength within. Maybe this world
would be a better place if more people stood up for what they
believe is right and started to think for themselves. Every writer
uses a little bit of fluff to move the story along and keep their
readers interested in the content- Charriere wrote a book
about the horrors of his life in prison and how he overcame
all of the trials and tribulations that were laid before him.
If there are a few inconsistencies in certain situations and the
characters are a bit sugar-coated, we should be able to look
past this, after all, I really dont care what some stuffed shirt
literary critic's opinion might be, its the heart of the matter that
really counts; and this book is all heart.
>>By anonymous z (Monday, 7 Apr 2003 13:31)
just about the pictures......therses one here
>>By Core (Monday, 14 Apr 2003 05:01)
Reading the book again. It's a very good read. Sometimes it seems too unbelievable. How did he make it through all the solitary confinement when others around him were going mad? He was a very strong person mentally as well as physical. The only picture I've seen of him is the back of the book.Did you know he was in a movie called "Popsy Pop"? Has anyone seen it?
>>By Pete (Monday, 14 Apr 2003 23:36)
i saw the movie many years ago, i just remember steve mcqueen and dustin hoffman. i happened upon the book at my library.(the 1970 1st english edittion) this book is an inspiring tale of the human will to survive, and florish under the most extreme conditions, i believe all of it,not because of 1mans tale of himself, no papis tales show the broader picture of the dark side of one of the world's elitest nations of the time, and the way the men condemed to live there strived intheir own ways.papillon true or not is as symbolic as it gets.(but it is all true.)
>>By jesse (Saturday, 19 Apr 2003 00:54)
Recien termine de leer su libro y realmente me parecio excelente, sus ganas de vivir, de vencer la adversidad, el dolor, la tristeza y la experiencia de estar preso por un crimen que no cometio...
Su fuerza interior para buscar traspasar los barrotes de su cautiverio, y por mas que lograba ser libre a ratos, otra vez parecia estar marcado y termino por caer preso en La Guayana Francesa, Colombia y Venezuela...
>>By Roberto N CH (Sunday, 20 Apr 2003 04:29)
Confinement,murdering -prisoners,Tropical Sun, goajira island ,lepers power,his friends.
As if papi was meant to live in hard adventure or i may say total thrill and live his uncherished love to live his life in calm.The story is a pure struggle for aim.
Aspiring story which develops and changes your prospectives of many thin PAPILLON'S is on the back cover of 1970 - 1976 addition books, including ba Papillon found GOD but throgh hard ship you want it then ................ you must.I MUST SAY AFTER READING THIS SIMPLE EXTREMELYFASCINATING BOOKS SPECIALLY PAPILLON ONE MAY LIKE TO HAVE ADVENTURE AND RISKS IN HIS LIFE.may you all have someting like that in your life.
>>By >Alian< (Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 18:00)
Papi a name which took over our minds changed our attitudes towards life.Its a book for developing extraordinary skills.One feels the sensation of each and every page.Feeling the true bitterness of people and pure passion.Truely breath taking and a book which involves more feelings than anything else.This books takes over you when you had read it with heart.HAVE A NICE DAY.BE cool like papi.
find more from me about papi.
>>By HAYDEN (Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 18:11)
Transform yourself .Read it and it'll get youforever.
>>By xavier (Thursday, 24 Apr 2003 18:15)
Henri Charriere is dead, yes.
But Papillon will live forever...
>>By Zenmuron (Sunday, 27 Apr 2003 21:53)
If like Charriere, you should also read "The Convict" by Felix Milani. His story is remarkably similar (he was also convicted and sent to French Guiana) but for some reason his book never received the acclaim of Papillon. Also truly a triumph of the human spirit.
>>By CD (Thursday, 8 May 2003 08:30)
Henri is my Hero. Ever he is my hero. Really i read that book more than 50 times. My life ambiltion is, once i have to all the places where henri was resided.
>>By A.ArunSankar (Thursday, 8 May 2003 11:42)
Does anyone know of an information source about Papillon? I ask because I have heard several times that there is great doubt about how true his exploits are, but appart from a lack of willingness to believe, have never seen a credible critique of the story.
I too am dubious (but want it to be true), and would like to hear any evidence that may have started these doubts. (have any of his fellow inmates ever spoken out?).
>>By John T (Wednesday, 14 May 2003 14:30)
I just finished reading Papillon and was utterly blown away by Henri's strength. Of body and mind. When he talks of going to the stars in his dreams when in solitary, I beleive I know a little of what he meant.
How *did* he get that charger back up his arse when he was thumb tied anyway? Any ideas people?
>>By Bless (Friday, 16 May 2003 22:06)
The discussion board is currently closed.