1970, 1st US edition; William Morrow and Company publishers, New York; hardbound with blue and red boards and black lettering on spine; very nice red maps on inside boards; book in quite good condition dispite minor scuffs; dust jacket is rough with a number of small tears (see pics).
Papillon ([papijɔ̃], Butterfly) is an autobiographical novel written by Henri Charrière, first published in France on 30 April 1969. Papillon is Charrière's nickname. The novel details Papillon's incarceration and subsequent escape from the French penal colony of French Guiana, and covers a 14-year period between 1931 and 1945.
The book 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. He eventually escaped from Devil's Island and settled in Venezuela. He lived and prospered there.
Papillon endured a brief stay at a prison in Caen. As soon as he was put aboard a vessel bound for South America, he learned about the brutal life that prisoners endured at the prison colony. Violence and murders were common among the convicts. Men were attacked for many reasons, including money, which most kept in a charger (a hollow metal cylinder which was lodged in the rectum; it has also been called a plan). Papillon befriended Louis Dega, a former banker convicted of counterfeiting. He agreed to protect Dega from attackers trying to get his charger.
Upon arriving at the penal colony, Papillon claimed to be ill and was sent to the infirmary. There he collaborated with two men, Clousiot and André Maturette, to escape from the prison. They planned to use a sailboat acquired with the help of the associated leper colony at Pigeon Island. The Maroni River carried them to the Atlantic Ocean, and they sailed to the northwest, reaching Trinidad.
In Trinidad the trio were joined by three other escapees; they were aided by a British family, the Dutch bishop of Curaçao, and several others. Nearing the Colombian coastline, the escapees were sighted...