Papillon has been described as „The greatest adventure story of all time“ (Auguste Le Breton) and „A modern classic of courage and excitement“ (Janet Flanner, The New Yorker) and they are so right and to me it’s even far beyond!!
The novel was put to the cinema screens around the world in 1973 with Steve McQueen as Papillon and Dustin Hoffman as Déga.
So sad he couldn’t really enjoy his success as he died the same year the movie came out in 1973 in Madrid, Spain.
I was personally totally inspired by that book reading it multiple times, travelling to Colombia twice and even did the same ink he had. Unfortunately there was no possibility to find a survivor of that time for an interview.
Here is a view on the story not scratching the surface what is all written down, cause it has 1001 nearly unbelievable stories in it. At least you have to read that book, so no need for too detailed information.
It is an account of a 14-year period in Papillon’s life (October 26, 1931 to October 18, 1945), beginning when he was wrongly convicted of murder in France and sentenced to a life of hard labor at the Devil’s Island penal colony in French Guiana.
After spending some prison time in France, Papillon and dozens of other convicts are brought to Cayenne by a vessel. From the beginning on his only toughts are about too flee. He succeeds several times but in the end after shorter and longer periods he is caught again.
His Odyssey begins in France (he will never enter that country again) and includes French Guiana, Suriname, British Guiana, Colombia, Trinidad, Tobago, Curacao…and finally Venezuela.
During his escapes, he lives with a native indian tribe, nuns, gets help from consuls, people on a leprosy island of outlaws, is sailing through stormy waters and the burning hot sun.
There are really so many unbelievable stories during escape as well as in prison tome, go for them, this book will inspire you highly!!!!
The novel and the movie is an absolutely must for everyone with a free soul, heart and mind. You will not be able to stop reading, promised!
His second book Banco is about his life after becoming an official Venezuelian Citizen. A Must for all Papillon fans, too!