Henri Charrière – Papillon

 

An ode to man’s dignity

The novel, that tells the daring escape attempts of the author, who was sentenced to hard labor in French Guyana, allows a variety of readings: it is a thrilling adventure story, it is a bitter denunciation of the French judicial system of the first half of last Century, but mainly it is a celebration of the human being. The work, set among the outcasts of society, is permeated by a deep sense of humanity that emerges not from the speeches, but from the narration of events. A timely reading than ever in an age, such as ours, dominated by individualism. A text that undermines certainties and that may well right to be defined ethical in the deepest meaning of the word.

Translation by Silvia Accorrà (edited by Sara Di Girolamo)