Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

ISBN: 0140120831
ISBN 13: 9780140120837
By: Patrick Süskind John E. Woods

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About this book

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift: an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and frest-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

Reader's Thoughts

John Wiswell

I had a heck of a time thinking who I'd recommend this to. It won a Fantasy award, yet I can't call it Fantasy. It's set in a bygone period, but it doesn't play with history, so it's not Historical Fiction. It's about a murder, yet it's not terrifying like Horror, nor is it a mystery. It's just the story of a peculiar boy who became a dangerous and most interesting man. He was born without an odor, you see, and lacking that part of identity, became obsessed with smell. That identity crisis triggers philosophical, religious and morbid chords in the book, yet none dominate. If anything, a dark curiosity dominates it. The book has a slightly menacing monotone about it that is almost hypnotic, and lays a surreal lens over the brilliant and crisp descriptions Suskind provides for his world. It's an angry, dangerous little book that baffled literary critics and inspired Nirvana. Read it and label it for yourself.

Patrick

This book was different and brilliant. The story of an orphaned boy born without a scent, but with an incredibly refined sense of smell, the book drags a bit in parts, but the ends justify the means, in more ways than one.All things considered, the book is a valentine to the beauty, elegance, and power of smell. A truly underrated sense, Suskind reminds the reader of just how powerful an effect our sense of smell can have. Although Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (one of the great names in contemporary fiction)'s amazing sense of smell seems the sort of thing that is unquantifiable in most any medium, Suskind makes it work perfectly. His vivid descriptions almost evoke the smells he is describing into reality, and his characterization of Grenouille is nothing short of perfect.Grenouille is, of course, an abhorrent, vicious, loathsome character, and Suskind takes great pains to point this out literally at various intervals throughout the story. However, despite his actions and the way he is described, Suskind cleverly says one thing and shows another, presenting Grenouille as the unquestioned hero of the story, allowing him to come across as, at the very least, sympathetic (if not pitiable), and at most, a man whose single-minded drives and desires leads to the reader outright rooting for him to succeed in his horrific acts.As the subtitle of the book is 'The Story of a Murderer', I don't think it gives anything away to say that the book climaxes in the brutal murders of 25 women that Grenouille uses to create the most perfect smelling perfume the world has ever known. Despite all the difficulties Grenouille encounters, all the opposition and roadblocks (and it's indisputably true that Grenouille was dealt a bad hand in life), he still takes his lumps admirably and never wavers from his pursuit of his dream, which, at its heart, is something I think everyone aspires to be able to do. Furthermore, when Grenouille finally does achieve his dream, he is heartbroken to discover that, after everything, it was not what he'd envisioned. Sadly, I think that is something people can relate to as well. And so it is that the story of a murderer ends up as something everyone can relate to.One of the ways Suskind is able to so perfectly pull this off is to disassociate Grenouille from these abhorrent acts. Throughout the story, we see only Grenouille striving and working hard to achieve his goal. Then, at the cusp of putting it into motion, the story suddenly changes perspective from the actions of Grenouille to their aftermath and the perspective of the local townspeople. It's a jarring and effective method that allows the reader to still root for Grenouille, as they still are very much aware that Grenouille is responsible for these horrific actions, but disassociates him from the brutality of them by only speaking of them in an offhand manner (i.e. the chaos they create, rather than the actual detailed acts themselves).All that said, the end of the book is insane, but wonderfully so. It's completely out of left field and it's almost hard to accept that what is happening is real and not some sort of dream (which it isn't). The reader is left waiting for the moment when Grenouille opens his eyes and we're told what really happened, but it never comes. Compared to the climax, the end of the story almost makes perfect sense, when in any other story it would be seen as equally insane, if not more so. But don't let it detract you from reading the book. It's true, you'll either love it or hate it, but no matter what you'll be unable to say it wasn't worthwhile.

Katy

Book Info: Genre: Literary FictionReading Level: AdultRecommended for: Those who enjoy dark, strange, twisted, yet lushly beautiful writingPlease note: I picked up and first read this book several years ago in the early aughts; I wanted to watch the movie subsequently made of this book, but wished to re-read it first to refresh my memory about the book itself. I’m not aware of having written a review for this book the first time around, as at the time I was not writing a review for everything I read.Synopsis: In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, “Perfume” is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity My Thoughts: What you have to understand about this book is this: it is dark. It is ugly. It is full of amazingly horrible things. This book is a love-it or hate-it book, and I have seen very few middle-of-the-road impressions of it. It is so extreme that it engenders extreme opinions. And me? I loved it! The descriptions are so incredibly vivid – you could smell the vile putrescence of Paris. “The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces. The peasant stank as did the priest, the apprentice as did his master’s wife, the whole of the aristocracy stank, even the king himself stank, stank like a rank lion, and the queen like an old goat, summer and winter.” You could see how horrible everything was, but at the same time be made aware that those living there – were just living. Take Grenouille’s mother, for instance. “Grenouille’s mother, however, perceived the odor neither of the fish nor of the corpses, for her sense of smell had been utterly dulled, besides which her belly hurt, and the pain deadened all susceptibility of sensate impressions... and [she], who was still a young woman, barely in her mid-twenties, and who still was quite pretty and had almost all her teeth in her mouth and some hair on her head and – except for gout and syphilis and a touch of consumption – suffered from no serious disease, who still hoped to live a while yet, perhaps a good five or ten years, and perhaps even to marry one day and as the honorable wife of a widower with a trade or some such to bear real children... Grenouille’s mother wished that it were already over.” Amazing! This perfectly captures the ennui of Paris, I think.Grenouille is a sort of wunderkind, in that he is extraordinarily tough – “He had a tough constitution. Whatever has survived his own birth in a garbage can is not so easily shoved back out of this world again... In the course of his childhood he survived the measles, dysentery, chicken pox, cholera, a twenty-foot fall into a well, and a scalding with boiling water poured over his chest.... He was as tough as a resistant bacterium and as content as a tick sitting quietly on a tree and living off a tiny drop of blood plundered years before.” – and in that he has a phenomenal ability to differentiate scents. “At age six he had completely grasped his surroundings olfactorily. There was not an object in Madame Gaillard’s house, no place along the northern reaches of the rue de Charonne, no person, no stone, tree, bush, or picket fence, no spot be it ever so small, that he did not know by smell, could not recognize again by holding its uniqueness firmly in his memory.” However, he has no scent himself. Eventually he creates a scent to make himself smell human, but then decides to improve upon it. “He would be able to create a scent that was not merely human, but superhuman, a angel’s scent, so indescribably good and vital that whoever smelled it would be enchanted and with his whole heart would have to love him, Grenouille, the bearer of that scent. Yes, that was what he wanted – they would love him as they stood under the spell of his scent, not just accept him as one of them, but love him to the point of insanity, of self-abandonment, they would quiver with delight, scream, weep for bliss, they would sink to their knees just as if under God’s cold incense, merely to be able to smell him, Grenouille... For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they could not escape scent.”Grenouille lives … exists... in a state of barely there, at least until he first smells the scent that will send him on his lifelong quest. Then... ah, then he is obsessed. “Never before in his life had he known what happiness was. He knew at most some very rare states of numbed contentment. But now he was quivering with happiness and could not sleep for pure bliss. It was as if he had been born a second time; no, not a second time, the first time, for until now he had merely existed like an animal with a most nebulous self-awareness. but after today, he felt as if he finally knew who he really was: nothing less than a genius... He had found the compass for his future life. And like all gifted abominations, for whom some external event makes straight the way down into the chaotic vortex of their souls, Grenouille never again departed from what he believed was the direction fate had pointed him... He must become a creator of scents... the greatest perfumer of all time.” Scents are the only things that matter to him: “That scented soul, that ethereal oil, was in fact that best thing about matter, the only reason for his interest in it. the rest of the stupid stuff – the blossoms, leaves, rind, fruit, color, beauty vitality, and all those other useless qualities – were of no concern to him. they were mere husk and ballast, to be disposed of.” His misanthropic nature is further expressed once he leaves Paris. “...it became clear to Grenouille for the first time that for eighteen years their compacted human effluvium had oppressed him like air heavy with an imminent thunderstorm. Until now he had thought that it was the world in general he wanted to squirm away from. But it was not the world, it was the people in it. You could live, so it seemed, in this world, in this world devoid of humanity.”This book is not just about Grenouille, of course – it is about a time, and about Grenouille as a product of that time. It was a time of great change, a time of revolution, a time when the long-established way of things was being overturned. “What did people need with a new perfume every season? Was that necessary? the public had been very content before with violet cologne and simple floral bouquet that you changed a soupçon every ten years or so... Or this insanity for speed. What was the need for all these new roads being dug up everywhere, and these new bridges? … What was the advantage of being in Lyon in a week?... Or crossing the Atlantic, racing to American in a month – as if people hadn’t got along without that continent for thousands of years... People even traveled to Lapland... The very attitude was perverse.” Of course, this general attitude could easily fit an older, established person’s thinking about any specific time you want to discuss. Also, the 18th century, like many centuries, ended in war. “Meanwhile war raged in the world outside, a world war. Men fought in Silesia and Saxony, in Hanover and the Low Countries, in Bohemia and Pomerania. The king’s troops died in Hesse and Westphalia on the Balearic Islands, in India, on the Mississippi and in Canada, if they had not already succumbed to typhoid on the journey. the war robbed a million people of their lives, France of its colonial empire, and all the warring nations of so much money that they finally decided, with heavy hearts, to end it.”Additionally, it was a time of many beliefs that to us, from the distance of centuries, appear to be nothing but superstition. Yet, at the same time, fear reduces us all to a similar state of suspicion, such as when young virgins in Grasse begin being murdered. “People suspected the gypsies...however, no gypsies around at the time, not a one, near or far... For lack of gypsies, people decided to suspect the Italian migrant workers. But there weren’t any Italians around either...Finally the wig-makers came under suspicion... To no avail. Then it was the Jews...then the monks of the Benedictine cloister... then the Cistercians, then the Freemasons, then the lunatics from the Charité, then the charcoal burners, then the beggars, and last but not least the nobility, in particular the marquis of Cabris, for he had already been married three times and organized – so it was said – orgiastic black masses in his cellars, where he drank the blood of virgins...”I was astonished to find this opinion about the state of an infant’s soul, given by a priest no less: “An infant is not yet a human being; it is a prehuman being and does not yet possess fully developed soul.” Yet infanticide is serious enough to warrant the death penalty, as one sees when it is discovered Grenouille’s mother would have left him to die as she did her first four babies. One wonders if modern pro-life activists with their “a child is a human as soon as it is created” ideas are aware of this amazing opinion of the 18th century Catholic church? But it’s not just the church with these thoughts. The perfumer, Baldini, thinks of children thus: “...one of those unapproachable, incomprehensible, willful little prehuman creatures, who in their ostensible innocence think only of themselves, who want to subordinate the whole world to their despotic will, and would do it, too, if one let them pursue their megalomaniacal ways and did not apply the strictest pedagogical principles to guide them to a disciplined, self-controlled, fully human existence.”The ending is, of course, just as shocking as the entire story, and very strange, dark and twisted – then again, that describes generally the whole story. Not at all recommended for people who don’t have a bit of darkness lurking in their soul, but if you don’t mind dabbling into the darkness and want to enjoy some unbelievably beautiful and lush writing, definitely check out this book.

Madeline

Creepy, amazing, beautifully written, with another dose of creepy.Perfume is the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who is born into absolute poverty, but is gifted with an extraordinary sense of smell. The book describes his life, beginning with his birth in a fish market (his mother gives birth to him under her fish stall and then leaves him there) to his totally bizarre death. In between, Grenouille becomes obsessed with preserving scents - human scents in particular, because Grenouille does not have a scent. He is especially obsessed with preserving the scents of beautiful young girls, and discovers that the best way to do this is to kill them, then wrap their bodies in oil-soaked cloths and then distill the oils to get the essential oils of each girl's scent.That's where the creepy part comes in. Grenouille is methodical and completely emotionless when it comes to killing - he barely even looks at his victims, and focuses only on their smell. The girls themselves never get to be more than victims - Laure, the girl whose scent Grenouille is most obsessed with obtaining, is probably only given a name so we can distinguish her from the twenty-five other girls Grenouille kills, and she never gets so much as a single word of dialogue. The reader never gets to learn anything about her personality or if she can even walk unassisted - she and the other girls in the story exist only as scents and pretty faces, and this makes it really hard to feel anything when Grenouille kills them. I know the author did this on purpose, and I'm still trying to decide if I liked it or not. That being said, I still really liked this story. It's a horror story from beginning to end, and a good one at that. Read it for that nice "I-feel-like-less-of-a-human-being-for-enjoying this" feeling.

Cindy

"Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.""For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they could not escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath. Together with breath it entered human beings, who could not defend themselves against it, not if they wanted to live. And scent entered into their very core, went directly to their hearts, and decided for good and all between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men."3/4 of the way through Perfume, I was going to tell you all in my review that if you're a fan of Dexter or maybe even True Blood, you might enjoy this book. Then I realized at the end that I was being too simplistic. It's for lovers of words, language, history, descriptions and loving to hate a character.It's a strange thing writing a whole book about smell. Smell is one of our few senses that doesn't translate to images, words, or descriptions. I always find perfume ads amusing, because they have to evoke an emotion they are hoping consumers will feel when they do finally smell the scent. Young mother hanging the laundry! Sexy woman in a bustier in the basement of a Speakeasy! Man on a horse holding jewels! Yet scent, at its heard, instantly takes us to our memories. I think I've finally figured out that the distinctive smell that infused my grandparents' house in South Dakota was a mix of talc, pine scented cleaner and fresh baked cookies. I might be wrong, but every once in a while I whiff something close to this and am immediately back in their 50's era kitchen with the big round drawer pulls.I think Süskind succeeded in drawing the reader a scented picture of mid-eighteenth century France. He then layers that with the development of a poor, weird creature who only has his hyper-olfactory nerves as an asset. The story ends up being bizarre, fascinating, and altogether horrifying, with layers upon layers of scent.Definitely not a book for everyone.Oh, and by the way, the lead character's name, Grenouille, means frog in French. Do frogs have a smell?

طَيْف

لأول مرة أجد "أنفي" متورطا في قراءة رواية!!!0مع زوسكند والقراءة الثالثة له...في رواية ذات حبكة فريدة، وفي عالم يضج بالروائح ما قرأت له مثيلا...وفي موضوع يلامس الحاسة الحادة عندي...فالروائح تسكن ذاكرتي...تستوطنني...ولبعضها تأثير السحر عليّزوسكند...بعالمه الغرائبي الذي بناه على الروائح قوّض عالمي وهزّه من أعماقه...فأن يسمي روايته بالعطر فذلك قمة الغرائبية...فالمفردة تمثل لنا تصورا مختلفا عما جاء به...فلا هي العطر بالمفهوم الطبيعي...ولا هي كذلك فقط قصة قاتل...ولا هي مرعبة كقصص الرعب!!!0إلى أي عالم غريب أراد هذا العبقري أن يقودنا بخياله الواسع...أو يقود أنوفنا؟؟!!!0وأي فكرة تلك التي أراد زوسكيند تمريرها؟؟وأي روحٍ تلك التي منحها للروائح حتى تنطق بحقيقة الأشياء وتمنحها هويّتها؟؟بناء فني محكم وعالم خصب بالخيال والتشويق والكثير من الجنون، أبدعه زوسكيند...مازج فيه بين السرد الروائي والسينمائي...ليهبنا القدرة على تصور المشاهد إضافة لشم روائح أجوائهافي فرنسا، وفي القرن الثامن عشر، وفي مجتمع يحفل بالعطر ويهتم به، ويقبل خاصّته على اقتناء أفضل العطور وأجملها، والعطارين على استخلاص المميز منها...يولد "جان باتيست غرنوي" لقيطا...في أحد الأحياء الفقيرة والمعدمة، ويبدأ حياته بإعدام والدته التي قررت تركه يموت بعد ولادته مباشرة...يولد "غرنوي" بشخصية بغيضة حتى تلفظه المرضعات، وبأنف خارق يتحسس أدق الروائح، وذاكرة شميّة يختزن بها كل رائحة يلتقطها أنفه بل ويشمها حال تذكّرها، ويملك القدرة على تحليلها وتركيبها وتصنيفها وصنع أجودها بخياله قبل أن يركبها في قارورة، رغم خلوه منها!!...وفي الوقت الذي يميز فيه الآخرين اتجاهاتهم ببصرهم وسمعهم، يعتمد هو على أنفه في تحديدها، ويحيا بشخصية غريبة مرهوبة متنقلا من بيت لبيت، حتى يلتقي بأحد أفضل العطارين ويتعلم منه أسرار المهنة ويجد المكان المناسب لموهبته، والتي لا يريد الاغتناء ماديا بها، وإنما فقط الاستمتاع بتلك المهارة وإثبات وجوده من خلالها...واستخلاص الروائح من كل ما يقع عليه نظره...والتوق لروائح لا مثيل لها، واستخلاصها بأشد الظروف غرابة ووحشية...بدءا بتقطيرها من الزهور وحتى استخدام أجساد الكائنات الحية وانتهاء بأجساد الفتيات العذراوات الجميلات.من الصعب اختزال أحداث القصة...فأحداثها مليئة بالغرابة والتنوع، ولكن السرد يتصاعد ليتحول هذا الفتى إلى قتل خمس وعشرين فتاة، من أجل استخلاص العطر الأكثر فتنة وتأثيرا من أجسادهن...محاولا تجربته من أجل أن يمنحه انتباه الآخرين والإحساس بوجودهوحين ظننت أن زوسكيند ينهي روايته بنجاة "غرنوي" من الإعدام بفضل عطره...فاجأتني النهاية الحقيقية القاسية بقتله في بلدته القديمة وعلى أيدي عدد من المشردين...ولنفس السبب الذي أنجاه...رائحة العطر الذي استخلصه من أجساد الفتيات...والذي كرّس حياته وجهده وتفكيره للحصول عليه وجمعه.أرغمني زوسكيند على التعاطف مع شخصيته الرئيسية، رغم ظلاميتها وتشوهها، وقسوته في وصفها ظاهرا وباطنا...وخشيت في لحظة نجاته من القتل، من ابتسامة رضى ارتسمت على شفتي، وكأنني رغبت فعلا بنجاته رغم شناعة فعلته، ربما هي طفولته البائسة التي أتقن زوسكيند وصفها وأحاطنا بها...وربما لأنه فعل ذلك حتى يحصل على الحب الذي حرمه، والسعادة التي ما شعر بها يوما، ولتحقيق ذاته وإبراز داخله...وربما لأنه كشف الأقنعة الزائفة وعرّى البشر أمام أنفسهم وأبرز دواخلهم الملتويةأبدع زوسكيند في مشهد إعدام "غرنوي"، فصدمته من موقف الآخرين تجاهه حطمت قناعاته، وأدرك أن الحب الذي جذبته الرائحة لم يعد شيئا يذكر بالنسبة له...ولم يعد مطلبا و "تصاعد فيه القرف من الإنسان ودسّ المرارة في نصره، فلا يمتنع عليه الفرح فحسب، بل ولا يشعر حتى بالتشفي. فما كان يحلم به، حب الناس، صار في لحظة النصر عبئًا لا يُطاق".العطر...رواية تحمل الكثير من تفاصيل صناعة العطور وتقطيرها وتفرد صفحات لبيان مراحل استخلاصها وتقنيات إبداعها...وتحمل كذلك الكثير من المعاني المختفية خلف الأحداث الظاهرة...وتضعك أمام العديد من التساؤلات حول الرائحة والحب والهويّة والعلاقة بينهم...فالرائحة برأي زوسكيند تعد مفتاحا للحب، وللإحساس بالآخرين ووجودهمرواية قد تكرهها جدا وقد تحبها جدا...وقد تخلف مشاعر متناقضة في نهايتها كما فعلت معي...ولكنها بالتأكيد جذبتني من أول حرف فيها

La Petite Américaine

** spoiler alert ** UPDATE: I do have to admit that going through the first trimester of pregnancy did have me thinking back to the main character in this book. I mean, smelling everything just SUCKS.Who knew everything stank so bad?? I mean, I wouldn't go around killing redhead virgins like he did to rectify the situation, but the time he spent alone in the scentless air of the mountaintop in France suddenly sounded so appealing. :)I only finished this book for 2 reasons, 1)my brother recently paid for it for me when we were travelling in German Switzwerland because I lost my ATM card, and 2) to review it on this (suddenly addictive) site.So, we have here a German author who, from page 1, likes to beat us over the head with adjectives and nouns: "streets ... of manure ... courtyards of urine ... rat droppings ... spoiled cabbage and mutton fat .... greasy sheets, damp featherbeads .... congealed blood." Is this German creativity? Adjective-noun bombardment? Heh. Enter some scenes, i.e. a woman who gives brith (and attempts infanticide) on a pile of fish guts. The baby lives. The mother's head is chopped off. The baby has no personal odor yet somehow he grows up in horrid circumstances and becomes an expert perfumer. Here are some more words our narrator beats us over the head with, all describing what our protagonist smells and later uses in his perfumes: "old cheese, stale vinegar .... spermy smell .... virginal smell, cat shit, pig shit, ... [stop, it's time to kill a puppy in graphic detail:].... anal sweat ... menstrual blood." Yummay. Ok, cut to a few more scenes, each more ludicrous and banal than the last in their descriptive value (although the shock value is rather great, of course -- why else would it be so popular in Germany and the USA, then made into a movie??)Let's end it with caannibalism, shall we?? Puh-lease. Yet another book that in Europe costs the equivelent of $25 that, shocker, is a time-wasting piece of "cat shit," (quoting the author here.) In the end? The words of a far wiser California surfer blonde suffice: "OH MY GAH! HELLA GROSS! EWWWw! SICK!!! That is so VILE! Let's smoke some bud, surf some waves, and forget about it!"I can't give you better than that.

Martine

A cross between The Silence of the Lambs and a period drama. That's how I would describe Perfume, the great German classic of the 1980s. Basically, it's an eighteenth-century murder story, except that it doesn't focus on the victims and the hunt for the killer, but rather emphasises the life and times of the murderer, who is an unusual protagonist to say the least.Perfume tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an eighteenth-century Parisian with a unique gift: a prodigiously well-developed olfactory sense which allows him to recognise pretty much any scent or smell. After a childhood full of hardship, he is apprenticed to a perfumier who teaches him all he knows about distilling smells. Unbeknownst to the perfumier, however, Grenouille isn't in it for the fashionable perfumes. Rather than extracting scents from flowers and petals, he wishes to extract smells from living objects -- more specifically, from the beautiful virgins he comes across every now and then, who smell like heaven to him. And so he plies his trade, hoping to learn that elusive trick which will enable him to trap the scents of the lovely young ladies he covets from afar, so that he can create the perfume he really wants -- essence of maiden.Perfume is a riveting look into the mind of an obsessed man -- a murderer whose immorality and eccentricity put him on a par with Thomas Harris' unforgettable serial killers. As unlikeable and depraved as Grenouille is, you almost sympathise with him. He may be a monomaniac, but his perseverance and creativity and the originality of his quest are such you almost wish him to succeed, or at least to see how far he will get before he gets caught. Suskind does such a great job describing his obsession that you simply keep turning the pages, waiting to see what fate has in store for this horrible yet ever so original murderer.The writing on display is beautiful. A tremendous lot of research went into Perfume, and it shows. The descriptions of the various perfume-making techniques are rich, detailed and thoroughly impressive. Suskind frequently devotes whole pages to explanations of parfumiers' secrets; it is testimony to the quality of his writing that they never get tedious. He also does a marvellous job evoking the odours of Grenouille's world and the way in which they affect him. With its many powerful descriptions of odours (both pleasant and unpleasant), the book is a veritable smellscape which makes you increasingly aware of the smells surrounding you. However, it is not without its problems. The middle chapters are a bit of a drag and the ending is so over the top that many readers will be put off by it. I was a bit put off by it myself, yet I can see why Suskind went for the grotesque touch. For all its scientific detail, Perfume is essentially a fairy tale, and anything but a strange ending would have been a betrayal. It's weird, but if you read the story as if it were fairy tale, the ending makes sense. It's a fairy tale with a fairy-tale ending, and then some.

Talal Alshareef

في البدء دعوني آخذ نفساً عميقاً .. شكراً لكم. لماذا احتجت لذلك النفس؟ لسببين: الأول لأن الرواية تبحر بك في عالم الشمّ، والثاني كي لا أفقد اتزاني حين أخبركم كم هي مجنونة رائعة مذهلة ساحرة هي هذه الرواية!فتحت صفحتها الأولى ظنّاً مني أنها سترافقني لبعض الأيام لأجد أنني قد أنهيتها في نفس اليوم الذي بدأتها فيه. قد يكون هذا هو عيبها الوحيد الذي تستحق عليه نجمة أخرى.أما عن ماذا تتحدث الرواية، فهي باختصار تدور حول "غرينوي" ذلك المولود الذي أرادت أمه التخلص منه حين ولادته كما فعلت بأخوته الأربعة من قبله ولم تنجح في ذلك. يتميز غرينوي هذا بأمرٍ واحد، أو أمرين إن شئت: الأول أنه يملك حاسة شمّ رهيبة تمكنه من إدراك وتحليل الروائح المركبة شديدة التعقيد، والثاني أنه لا رائحة له. على هذه القاعدة البسيطة يسير بك المؤلف في أحداث آسرة وتفاصيل دقيقة تجعلك تحكّ أنفك بين الحين والآخر.لن أزيد في الشرح والوصف وسأترك لك الاستمتاع بهذه الرائعة.ملاحظة: كنت قد شاهدت الفيلم المقتبس من الرواية، والفرق بينهما جدّ كبير، لصالح الرواية بالطبع. إذا كنت قد شاهدته فلا يكن ذلك سبب في عدم قرائتك لها.

Michael Fierce

Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer is simply one of the greatest horror novels ever written. Taking place in 18th century, France, it begins with an infant born with one difference from the rest of the world: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with the ability to smell anything and everything in the world around him. Although not a novel of the supernatural as commonly defined, in a sense, it is, because his ability can only be defined as that of supernature. While not being the most prolific author, Patrick Süskind, has made his permanent mark not only in horror and gothic fiction, but in the circles of high literature, as well. More a modern descendant of Edgar Allan Poe or Robert Louis Stevenson and other great gothic writers of that period than to most writers working today, Perfume, is a unique, fresh, story of mystery, suspense, and madness. For those of you tired of books you can see right through, anticipating where the storyline is going and how it's going to end, this is the book for you. I can't imagine anyone figuring out the ending, or even trying to, because you wil be so caught up in the book, you will savour every page and description until the end. It's really hard to find good modern gothic fiction, horror or otherwise, that's done with a literate touch from someone that conveys the feeling of actually being there inside a rich, period piece setting. A book no one with literate reading interests should miss. Though different, it will appeal to readers of newer masters of horror; Thomas Ligotti, Patrick McGrath, Laird Barron, and Matt Cardin. And to older masters; Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Bram Stoker. * I do like the cover to the more modern version of this book but, if you are a true book connoisseur like me, track down the 1987 September edition, 1st paperback printing by Pocket Books with the shiny red embossed lettering on a red & black book. It's just fantastic and reminds me of a combination of the artwork for the film, Amadeus (1984), the infamous murderer, Jack The Ripper, and to The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.My highest of all recommendations!!!!!

Arah-Lynda

Smell, they say, is the strongest of the senses.Hmmmmm,I remember a time, years ago, on the beach.I could smell the lake, the night airFeel the Harley spinning out of control as it hit the sand. No pain justThe smell of wet leather and silk Bob Seger singingMoonlit endless sandThe taste of beer and cigarettesHis scent……..mine….mingled.That’s the thing about smell; it commands an immediate and visceral response. It is instinctive, automatic; void of conscious thought or will, all the while affecting a wide range of behaviours; emotion, motivation …..memory. Perfume is an olfactory experience. Murder most monstrous is afoot. Suskind takes you on a bloody, smelly, insane quest.

أروى

قرأته بالعربية(العطر..قصة قاتل)مذ قرأت هذه الرواية وأنا أشعر أن حاسة جديدة لدي قد تيقظت إلى أقصى مدى ..ولعلي منذ زمن مولعة بذلك الأثر الساحر المخفي المربك لمجرد "رائحة جميلة"..دعوني أبدأ قصة هذا الكتاب من البداية..!كنت أضع هذه الرواية ضمن قائمة طويلة من الكتب والروايات التي قرأت عنها أو سمعت عنها كي أحصل عليها ريثما تيسرت الأمور..صادف أن قرأت تقريراً عن السينما الأسبوعية ومن ضمن الأفلام المعروضةكان فلم perfumeوالمأخوذ عن هذه الرواية.اتصلت صديقة بي كانت موجودة في ذلك الوقت في دبي، سألتني عن كتب يمكن أن تشتريها فأخبرتها عن هذه الرواية .المهم صديقتي تحمست ، وعانت حتى تحصل عليها..موجودة، غير موجودة..عودي غداً.انتظري نبحث في المخزن..حتى عادت إلى جدة بهذا الصيد الثمين..بعدها بأسبوع قابلت صديقتي..نظرت إلي بنظرة يملؤها الشرر ودفعت لي بالكتاب قائلة: خذيها ..لا تعيديها إلي..لا أريدها..ولن أستمع إلى نصيحتك ثانية!أسقط في يدي..قلت لها : أنا لم أقرأها، فقط سمعت عنها..خبأتها في حقيبتي حتى وجدتها ذات ملل..كنت الفريسة .وكانت الصياد..!بكل فكرتها..أحداثها..تداعيها..رسم ملامح شخصياتها..كنت أقرأ "بأنفي"...!!!!!!!كيف يمكن لكاتب أن يحصر كل هذا الكم من الروائح المقرفة والجميلة والبشرية والحيوانية.. ثم يقبض عليها..ويكتبها بكل هذه الدقة..!كيف يمكنه أن يجعل من الفتيات الصغيرات الجميلات زهوراً قابلة للسحق من أجل تقطير أروع رائحة في الوجود كما يشمها هو!إنها رواية تخلط لك الفانتازيا بالنزعات الشريرة..لتمنحك رائحة أخرى!طبعاً بعد أن انتهيت من قراءتها لم أفكر برؤية الفلم أبداً ولن أفعل..فالأفلام ذات الشر البارد..ترعبني أكثر من أفلام الرعب الحمقاء..

Angela

this book sounded really interesting, but i really didn't like it. couldn't wait to be done with it, but also had a hard time just finishing it cause i really didn't like it. felt like the writing and plot was just very amateurish. hopefully the movie is better.

مهدي

رواية العطر عمل بديعباتريك زوسكند يملك سحراً خاصاً ولغة مدهشة ومفرطة في عذوبة الوصف وإحساس عميق في حقل الروائح الطيّارةكيف استطاع أن يصف لنا العطور والروائح وكأنه يتبختر في كل صفحة بعطر جديد أشمه بنقاءوتركيز عالباتريك الكاتب الألماني الذي درس التاريخ كتب هذا العمل بثقافة عالية وأسلوب جديد وباهر جداً الرواية التي تدور في القرن الثامن عشر - ومزامنة مع أحداث تاريخية لا تبعدنا عن أحداث القصة - كانت بفكرة مستحدثة , اللغة كانت جميلة والمفردات كان مُعطرة , الوصف عميق جداً ومُتقن استمتعت كثيراً بكل فصل في الروايةإلا فصل وواحد بدا فيه (غرينوي) بائساً ووحيد في جحر كان ممل عمل رائع هذه الرواية لم أقرأ له شيء مشابه قرأتها بترجمة كاميران حوج عن منشورات الجمل , مثالية *

Nandakishore Varma

There are some books which can be called unique. They may be good, bad or indifferent: but their authors strike out from the trodden paths of narrative themes and structure to explore totally new vistas, so that the product becomes unique. Perfume by Patrick Suskind is such a book.Jean Baptiste Grenouille is "an abominable and gifted personage, in an era which was not lacking in abominable and gifted personages". Born a bastard in the stinking heart of the city of Paris in the eighteenth century under a gutting table, the first cry he utters sends his mother to the scaffold for abandoning an infant. Grenouille grows up by sucking many wet nurses dry, survives the horrendous childhood of an orphan in an age without mercy, and grows up to become a successful perfumer. For this is his unique gift: the child who does not emit any smell himself is blessed with extraordinary olfactory capabilities, which allows him to recognise, separate and catalogue in his mind all the different odours he comes into contact with.But simple identification is not enough for Jean. He is driven by the insatiable urge to possess any smell he likes for himself; he will move heaven and earth to extract it from its origin, make a perfume out of it and keep it with him. He is not bothered that the object which originates the smell will be destroyed in the process of extraction: he is a "smell-vampire". And like a vampire, it is the smell of virgins which drives him wild. Ultimately, Grenouille's gift and single-minded obsession proves to be the cause of both his uplift and undoing...Suskind has written a gripping novel which will hook and pull the reader in from the first sentence onwards. However, this is not a simple horror story or thriller: it has got layers of meaning hidden beneath one another which will come out on careful reading.Jean Baptiste Grenouille is a masterly creation. His insatiable thirst for smells makes him a truly terrifying "collector": one who cannot enjoy his passion the normal way, but must possess the object of his desire (I was reminded of Frederick Clegg in John Fowles' "The Collector") completely. The fact that he lacks a characteristic odour himself enhances his vampiric nature. Also, all the people who profit from him come to a grisly end, like the poor misguided souls who make a pact with the devil.Joseph Campbell has made the slogan "Follow your bliss" very popular - but how to know whether your bliss is good or bad? I have always wondered about the concept of "negative bliss". Both Gandhi and Hitler could have been said to be following their bliss in different ways. While reading this novel, I was struck by the realisation that the difference is in one's attitude. If one is doing it because one cannot be doing anything else - following one's karma, if you want to put it that way - then it is bliss. But if one is driven by an insatiable need which feeds on itself, one ends up being a vampire. Ultimately, it consumes oneself.Highly recommended.

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