I read the Marathi version of “Papillon” last month. A Small review on this amazing true story!
Henry Sharrière, a thief, was convicted of the murder of a pimp although there was no direct evidence against him other than the doubtful testimony of a prosecution ‘witness’. He was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in French Guyana in November 1933 but escaped in September 1934 and made his way to Colombia. Re-arrested, he was returned to Cayenne in 1935, but made a final escape in 1944 and became a Venezuelan citizen. After building up his fortune, only to have it ruined by an earthquake, he wrote a book about his life and adventures. This was made into the movie Papillon, starring Steve McQueen, in 1973, but during the making of the film Charrière discovered he was suffering from throat cancer. He died on July 29 1973 and is buried in Lanas (France), alongside the grave of his prison friend Louise.
Its a chilling yet inspiring true story of Henry Charriere’s years in French Guiana during 1930’s and his 9 escape attempts, wherein he finally succeeds!
This book is one of best sellers of its time.. And I bet you will agree with this if you read this book.
During his attempt to escape, He encountered with the Red-Indians opened a new world to him, which though backward, was full of love and humanity. There he got Love from two women who were sisters. Though this attempt led to re-arrest, thus bringing him back to Guiana, even confinement into dark cell jail for 2 long years! In these 2 years he speaks only 3 sentences with the warden. He also gets helped by his friends in the jail, who help him survive the brutality by slipping in coconuts to him.
His final attempt using a bag of coconuts and help from the waves and along with a friend, who unfortunately dies in the swamp, at this point Henry can do little but to watch him vanish in the swamps! His encounter with an escaped Chinese and his little pig is like shot in the arm!
Finally, at Venezuela serving some time in prison….he gets his deserved Freedom! All the 14 years of his life just wasted away. At time in the book, Henry ponders on what keeps him moving…but he in one tough soul.
This book strengthen my belief that ’’Impossible is nothing’’ . I hope you enjoy it too!