Tuesday, May 20, 2008

NOT the NY times book review

well not quite!
i've just finished reading this wonderful book. could be i'm one of the few who didn't already know about it.
it was written during WWII by irene nemirovsky. she was to die before the war was over and before she completed the third part of this story. she wrote as events unfolded: the german invasion and occupation of france. the story perfectly describes human nature and behaviour and brings its characters to life.
it's tragic that she, and then her husband, being jews, were sent to their deaths by the nazis. one of her daughters discovered the manuscript years later. she had thought it was a just a book with scribbled notes. i know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but this one is perfect.

this book also has a french theme, coincidentally. i think this may be the third or even fourth time that i've read papillon since i first discovered it in my teens. there is no other that provides such adventure and excitement with its glimpses into human misery and endurance.
every time i read it it's a journey of rediscovery. henri charriere, aka papillon*, a prisoner wrongly convicted, so he claims, of murder is sent to live/die in the french penal colony in south america in the 1930's. he describes the places, the people and the events in amazing detail. his ability to overcome and to survive and his attempts at escape, keep you hanging on his every word. he's a natural story teller and must have been an amazing personality.
*papillon is french for butterfly and he bears the nickname due to the butterfly tattoo on his chest.
next on the to-read list is this one. given to me by my reading buddy, phil.
there may be a good reason why this title appealed to him...
i'm looking forward to starting it soon.


wor vron said...

remember seeing the paper back version of Papillon on the bookcase at home -was it yours?might get around to reading it oneday -apparently Phil has a copy!
Vron x

wor vron said...

yup - can see the similarities between Phil and the dali lama!!? -good read?
Vron x

Anonymous said...

what? lol
phil was reading the book about the dalai lama

met kelvin, phils brother last night and he was saying ooo yes pat, my brothers girlfriend.



Clippy Mat said...

kelvin is a cheeky b! i like to think of myself as more of a mrs. doubtfire rather than mrs robinson where phil is concerned. LOL