Patrick Süskind's Perfume follows the life of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, abandoned at birth in the slums of eighteenth-century Paris, but blessed with an outstanding sense of smell. This gift enables Jean-Baptiste to master the art of perfume making, but one scent evades him: that of a virgin, whom he must possess to ensure her innocence and beauty are preserved. Laced with sense and suspense, this is a beguiling tale of lust, desire and deadly obsession.
A dark masterpiece. As “civilised” humans, we tend to ignore or block out our animalistic affair with scent. Jean-Baptise Grenouille is a man born with no scent of his own but a sense of smell far surpassing comprehension; he understands and thinks through smell. He ultimately seeks to forever preserve his favourite smell; a young virgin girl. Filled with scenes that bypass ordinary thought; you begin to smell as Grenouille does; this novel is testament to scent. - Matt (QBD)
I can't believe I hadn't read this book sooner! Patrick Suskind writes with perfect balance of dark subject content and captivating language. It's as though this book was especially written for me! Jean-Baptiste Grenouille has to be one of my favourite characters of all time. - Elliott
Reviewed by 55ST
Stunningly written, Perfume is an exploration of the sense of smell and is perhaps the only book to do it well, if at all. It is also however, a study of the duality of man and his mechanisms for hate and love. Made even more intriguing by the reclusive lifestyle of its author, Perfume is a beautiful book with dark shadows much like the very humanity it studies so closely. Grenouille is a strange person but you can see early on that he seeks beauty in a world of putrefaction, love in a world of social status and finds only the pit of all humankind until he masters their desires and bottles them up. Grenouille is perhaps a great example of the sociopathic serial killer. He only kills because he sees no other way to get what he wants. He simply doesn't know any better. He's a despicable character that you grow to love, thus the proof of Sskinds exploration of love and hate emerges. While the idea of bottling human desires seems far-fetched allow yourself to enjoy the magicality of it.
QBD the bookshop, 31/07/2014
A dark masterpiece
A dark masterpiece. As civilized humans, we tend to ignore or block out our animalistic affair with scent. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is a man born with no bodily scent of his own and yet his sense of smell surpasses comprehension. He understands the world in odours and ultimately searches to forever preserve his favourite smell, the body of a virgin girl. Filled with scenes that bypass normal thoughts to allow you to temporarily share Grenouille's mind and nose, 'Perfume' is a testament to our sense of smell and an insight to our darkest urges. Reviewed by 08mf