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Perfume: The Story of a Murdererby Patrick Suskind
Perfume is a well-written, genre-crossing historical tale that delves into the macabre, but it also has the rare quality of being able to change the way you experience life, albeit through an olfactory perspective. Perfume does more than let you get lost in the world of a book — it puts you in touch with one of the strongest senses we possess and magnifies that experience to the extreme.
"He coveted the odor of certain human beings: those rare humans who inspire love." So begins Jean-Baptiste Grenouille's single-minded plot to capture the scent that will change himself and, ultimately, the world. But the scent and the person, so intertwined, must first be wrenched apart and sacrificed to his evil plan. Creepy, gripping, and fabulous!
Synopses & Reviews
An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind's classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man's indulgence in his greatest passion — his sense of smell — leads to murder.
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.
"From start to finish, Perfume is a ridiculously improbable piece of verbose claptrap which the author himself evidently found impossible to take seriously for very long at a time....Since very little happens within Grenouille's mind, and he achieves with other characters no relations capable of development, the book requires a good deal of stuffing to achieve the dimensions of a small novel. The best of this material is several different listings of the materials and procedures involved in perfume making. Suskind has done his homework on the topic....The writing of the book is verbose and theatrical." Robert M. Adams, The New York Review of Books
"Superb storytelling all the way — the climax is a savage shocker." The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"With brilliant narrative skill Susskind exposes the dark underside of the society through which Grenouille moves and explores the disquieting inner universe of this singularly possessed man. The translation is superb. Essential for literature collections." Library Journal
"The point about genuine historical fiction is that it is primarily concerned with the contemporary world. This is not a historical romance, full of 'Prithees!' and strange objects known as poniards, but a meditation on the nature of death, desire and decay....As a novel of character or incident, Perfume is at best tentative, therefore, but as a disquisition on sensibility and as an instrument of historical analysis, it is both well conceived and carefully sustained....This is a remarkable debut." Peter Ackroyd, The New York Times Book Review
"Those readers who feel they are wasting their time with novels unless they are picking up facts will welcome Suskind's encyclopedic overview of the methods of making perfume. Like the best scents, there is something fundamentally formulaic about this novel, but its effects will linger long after it has been stoppered." Paul Gray, Time magazine
"An astonishing performance, a masterwork of artistic conception and execution. A totally gripping page-turner." The San Francisco Chronicle
"Superb storytelling all the way...the climax is a savage shocker." The Plain Dealer
About the Author
Patrick Süskind was born in Ambach, near Munich, in 1949. He studied medieval and modern history at the University of Munich. His first play, The Double Bass, was written in 1980 and became an international success. It was performed in Germany, in Switzerland, at the Edinburgh Festival, in London, and at the New Theatre in Brooklyn. His first novel, Perfume, became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. He is also the author of The Pigeon and Mr. Summer's Story, and a coauthor of the enormously successful German television series Kir Royal. Mr. Süskind lives and writes in Munich.
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