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


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. “ 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: “ 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.


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.


** spoiler alert ** This book starts out interesting, I will give it that much. It is a story of a reclusive man, who, born without a personal odour, becomes obsessed with creating the perfect human scent. The description is interesting, and while Suskind paints a perfect picture of the scene, the idea itself is void of true substance of meaning, and tires quickly. The only thing to be valued in this book is Suskind's style of writing. The underpinning values or morals in this book is simply non existent, there is no need to probe into it, as its concepts lay obviously on the surface, with no real meaning to deduce from the work. As a read for entertainment, it may be worth it. It seems to be a fairly empty novel; which is supported by a brief synopsis. - Man kills 25 virgins, wraps them in lard to collect their scent, creates a perfume, wears the perfume on the day of his exucution, and since the scent is so "divine" it catalyses love and captures the town, weaving a spell over all its people. An orgy follows, and then Grenoiulle decides he wants to die and covers himself with the perfume, walks into a derelick park and allows himself to be eaten by those who want a piece of him due to his amazing scent. All in all, the crazy perfumer gets eaten by cannibals. Wow! - Shitty read if you ask me


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

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.

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.


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 *


I'd like to make something very clear with my review of this book. I normally don't go overboard with the whole "the movie vs. the book" argument because I'm not interested in making people's decisions for them, even though I'm strongly opinionated about the subject. But this is a case where I have to speak out. Süskind has created here a work of literary art in prose, and I take that seriously. I admire lots of books but I wouldn't say this about any old novel. The movie "Perfume" makes an utter mockery of this artwork, its incredible language (even in translation) and its profoundly disturbing character. The movie is to this book what a smudge of dirt is to a brilliant, glowing star. The movie not only fails to capture the depth and profundity of the prose but also of its unique darkness and unsettling moral bleakness. "Perfume"'s central character (in many ways, its only character) is far beyond some simplistic "good" or "evil." Rather, he is utterly disconnected from humanity. He lacks a fundamental concept of agency in other people, who are essentially conveyors or producers of smells and nothing more. He kills, not with any idea of transgression, but simply as he would break an object in order to smell it. In this he is far more terrifying than any serial killer or other contrived "evil" character, and the story of his incredible and absurd life leaves one with a deep darkness that takes a long time to dissipate after the novel is closed and shelved or passed on.The movie, as I saw it, conveyed none of this existentially disturbing character, but merely his salient features; i.e., his uncanny ability to smell and dissect smells, and even then can't possibly describe what he senses with the book's vividness and detail. In short, viewers are left with a paltry, thin gruel that denigrates and shames the original book and its author.


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.


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.


I want my last 2 weeks back. I dove into this book expecting a hell of a lot more than I dragged out of it. From the very beginning I did not like the author's writing style and should have known then that this book just wouldn't be for me.This book is set in the mid-1700's France and centers around a horrid man who has no redeeming qualities other than the fact that he has likely the most perfect sense of smell in the history of mankind. But he uses this skill for selfish and evil purposes and we get to come along for the story of his life - if you could call it that.The premise of the story seemed interesting enough, and of course the title tells us that there is going to be murder so that always makes for interesting reading. But I just found it to be extremely boring and tiresome.The author obviously did his research relating to all things perfume - the methods involved in it's creation - both chemically and artistically - and the importance of it's purpose in that point in history. But he goes overboard with list after exhaustive list of ingredients or steps within a process or varieties to be found. He can't help but describe every minute detail, not just of perfume, but of the landscape or the people. I love descriptive writing - I truly do - but I do also like to have an exciting plot to keep me involved. By the time he finished describing a scene I forgot why we were there.This book lulled me to sleep and caused me to welcome distractions rather than turning the page so it took me a lot longer than a book of this length normally would. I know that it is loved by many and was recommended to me by several whose opinions I value. But this one just didn't cut it. Even when the action picked up in the last 50 pages or so, it became extremely bizarre and made me wonder what the heck the point was exactly.


يعتقدون أنهم يشاهدون كل شيء بعيونهم "..أكان شيطاناً ، مسخاً أم شبحاً لانسان؟ جسده الضئيل قد يوحي بذلك هذا الكم الكبير من اللامبالاة ، البرود والحياة وحيداً هي ما تشير لذلك .هل كنا في يوم ما نهتم بحاسة الشم أكثر من النظرأو اللمس أو التذوق ، هل كنا نرى الاشياء بعدة حواسأم نكتفي بتكثيف حاسه واحده فقط ؟كان "غرينوي" يشم ويرى ويتذوق بأنفهاستنشق كل شيء ما عدا أهم شيء وهذا ما صنع منه هذا الشخص البالغ في الهزال واللامبلاه والغيبوبة الانسانيه .التفاصيل الدقيقه افكاره حياته تشوقه المستمر لاستنشاق كل شيءخلقت جواً فلسفياً من نوع آخر لم يتطرق له في أي روايه سابقهمنذ بداية ولادته الغريبه الى المشهد الاخير حين حول العامه والنبلاء والبرجوازيين ذلك التفصيل الاخير الى محفل كما فعل هو تماماً عندما امتص رحيق خمسة وعشرين صبيه جميله طريقة غريبه لأن يهتم الانسان بالتفاصيل مهما اختلف الغرض أوالسببانانيه اتقاما او تشفي فإن الانسان يغدو شغوفاً بما يريده وبما يؤمن به مهما كان غريباً أو مُداناً ..ُ.باختصار انها روايه لا تقرأ فقط بل تُستنشق !


'Perfume' tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille a boy who grew up on the streets of Paris. Jean-Baptiste was no ordinary boy, he had a gift... a sense of smell that could not be rivaled. Naturally he found his niche by becoming an apprentice to a master perfumer who teaches him the art of making perfume. He excelled at this and people were scrambling to buy his product. As he branched out and started searching for new scents to include in his perfumes, his fascination with trying to find the "ultimate perfume" takes a morbid turn when he finds that ultimate scent is coming from a beautiful woman, and he has to capture it by any means necessary.I picked this book up on a whim at a used bookstore one day simply thinking that I'd like to read something different for a change. 'Perfume' managed to root itself so deep in my mind that I still remember this novel in vivid detail to this day; I must have read it at least ten years ago. The story is disturbing in so many ways yet so unbelievably brilliant and fascinating that you can't help but be enthralled. The novel is extremely graphic at times but that's what really makes the story. Highly recommended, I love this novel it's one of my absolute favorites.Interested in more of my reviews? Visit my blog!

Carmo Santos

Gostei de tudo neste livro. Desde a história magnifica que não se assemelhou a nada que já tivesse lido e que o autor desenvolveu de forma criativa e surpreendente, à linguagem clara e requintada, sem ser pretensiosa. As descrições são ricas, sem monotonia,e os diálogos expressivos e diretos, sem conversas inúteis. A escrita adapta-se às variadas situações, por vezes tão melancólica que deixa um nó na garganta, outras subtilmente irónica, ou ainda divertida capaz de levar ao riso. As personagens são elaboradas e bem estruturadas com personalidades fortes e singulares.Patrick S. leva-nos a Paris em pleno sec.XVIII, a uma época em que a imagem da cidade luz era bem diferente daquela que conhecemos hoje. A partir daí é uma viagem pelos aromas de França guiados pelo narizinho de Jean-Baptiste.Jean-Baptiste Grenouile nasceu no sítio mais fedorento da cidade, no seio da maior imundície e da mais profunda miséria humana, literalmente despejado naquele terreno estéril onde não vingavam afetos.Dotado de uma maldade intrínseca e desprezando todos à sua volta, esquivou-se à morte, revelando uma tenacidade que haveria de o acompanhar ao longo da vida, e trilhou o seu caminho sem se prender a nada nem a ninguém, vivendo como um animal solitário e evitando contacto humano, a não ser que daí colhesse algum beneficio.Nasceu com um olfato capaz de captar o mais ínfimo aroma. Desde bebé que olhava com as narinas, devassava o intimo de quem com ele se cruzava, e era meticuloso a selecionar e catalogar todos os cheiros que guardava na sua memória, para nunca mais os esquecer.Ele, que por um bizarro capricho do destino havia nascido sem odor corporal, vai dedicar-se à criação de um perfume o mais parecido possível com o cheiro do corpo humano, aquele que representará a sua própria identidade. Para isso, reuniu meticulosamente os ingredientes necessários e através do método mais macabro, vai criar a fórmula mágica para um perfume hipnotizante. Tinha a fantasia louca de ser adorado, idolatrado e amado sem limites. Aqui, os nossos corações amanteigados podem pensar : Coitado, ficou assim pelas circunstâncias em que nasceu e viveu, pela falta de amor e carinho. Puro engano. Jean- Baptiste Grenouille era genuinamente mau e calculista, sabia-o, e tinha orgulho nisso. Apesar da personagem principal dominar toda a história, foi por Giuseppe Baldini, que fiquei encantada mal me foi apresentado.Este egocêntrico tradicionalista, preso às glorias passadas, hostil a toda e qualquer inovação, consagrou-se perfumista famoso mais por uma sucessão de felizes acasos do que por genuíno talento. Agora, que o declínio se avizinha rói-se de inveja do seu rival, Pélissier, um "vinagreiro" inovador que tem a ousadia de criar perfumes novos como se não houvesse amanhã, e ainda por cima - que descaramento... com sucesso! Baldini rebaixa-o, chama-lhe sarcasticamente: "porquinho" e "animal fedorento" entre outras pérolas, mas de forma tão divertida que se torna hilariante. Claro que paralelamente,vai criando estratagemas para lhe roubar as formulas. Uma personagem deliciosa. Desempenhou um papel fundamental na vida de Jean-Baptiste, e vice-versa.Das restantes personagens, nenhuma me marcou especialmente. Desempenharam o seu papel na devida altura e o autor teve o cuidado de lhes dar um rumo e um final, ainda que isso não fosse fundamental para o desenlace da história. Vi o filme, li o livro, vi o filme outra vez, e não tenho a menor duvida. O filme é bom mas o livro é extraordinário.

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