Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Patrick Süskind – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Title: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Author: Patrick Süskind

ISBN # 0141029048

Publisher: Penguin Books

First Published: 1985

272 pages

Format: Paperback

Rating: 8/10

Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of
Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet, there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And, to get it, he must kill. And kill. And kill...

I was surprised at how little violence there is in this book - honestly, it's quite the most gentle murder story I've ever read! Grenouille is a fascinating character who lives only for olfactory sensation and feels nothing for anything else, but surprisingly, I still felt sympathetic towards him, despite him being the "villain" of the tale.

I found this a surprisingly refreshing read and not at all what I would have expected if I hadn't already seen the film. And although I enjoyed the film a great deal, I definitely thought the book was a far richer experience (as one would expect) and found that it made me think about how people perceive one another. It also featured one of the most profoundly fitting last sentences I’ve read in a very long time.

If you like something a little unusual, then don’t miss this one!


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