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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick…

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (original 1985; edition 2001)

by Patrick Suskind

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13,146327169 (3.94)313
Title:Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Authors:Patrick Suskind
Info:Vintage (2001), Edition: 1st Vintage International ed, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:1001 TBR, Germany

Work details

Perfume by Patrick Suskind (1985)

  1. 100
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (spiphany)
  2. 72
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (klerulo)
    klerulo: Both these works attempt to get inside the head of singularly amoral sociopathic murderers.
  3. 30
    The Bells by Richard Harvell (SimoneA)
    SimoneA: Where Perfume is about a boy who has an extraordinary sense of smell, The Bells is about a boy who has extraordinary hearing. The vivid description of sounds in The Bells remind me of the description of scents in Perfume.
  4. 31
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    An Absolute Gentleman by R. M. Kinder (GirlMisanthrope)
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    Zeroville by Steve Erickson (VisibleGhost)
    VisibleGhost: An obsession with movies instead of scent.
  12. 22
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  13. 13
    The Particular Sadness Of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (Rosey_Kim)
    Rosey_Kim: Lemon Cake also deals with supernaturally heightened human senses (taste rather than smell) and has a similarly evocative sense of environment.
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1980s (34)

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» See also 313 mentions

English (243)  Spanish (32)  French (11)  Dutch (11)  Italian (9)  German (6)  Swedish (5)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (2)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (326)
Showing 1-5 of 243 (next | show all)
The psychology of Perfume snagged me as I read. I think that's what really hooks one in to this rather short read; it plays on sense of self while carrying its readers off into the darkened chill of absence, lack, mania.

All in all, it was very interesting and disturbing. Which is probably what every other review of this book says.

I haven't watched the movie and I'm sure if I ever get around to it I'll end up comparing it back to the book as readers are wont to do. There certainly might be something interesting there, experiencing a book about a pariah who is driven to murder because of a sense he lacks in two different senses by reading the book (sight) and watching a movie (sight hearing).

Suskind definitely abounds in his ability to layer scent within his character and his writing. ( )
  lamotamant | Sep 22, 2016 |
I am going to give this book... 3.5 stars.

I read it years ago and some of the passages have really stuck with me, but the rest of it is a little bit muddled?

I felt that it was a little bit slow in parts but it definitely gathered pace towards the end and it had an ending that I was actually really, really pleased with. I thought it dovetailed very neatly and I was really impressed.

So I think this book made a big impression on me at the end but overall it wasn't really a book I'd read again, although I would recommend it. The writing is really interesting in parts and the plot itself is a very interesting concept. c: ( )
  lydia1879 | Aug 31, 2016 |
Eh, not for me, I don't think. I was expecting a creepy tale but it just didn't engage me. The writing was okay, but nothing special, and it just didn't grab me. I also accidentally spoiled the ending for myself which sounds utterly bizarre and doesn't make me feel like continuing at all. I might give it another go some time - it's not like I hated it - but I have so much other reading material at the moment that I don't feel inspired to continue with things I'm not too keen on.

Also, what was with the use of ellipses? They were everywhere and I found them really distracting.
  thebookmagpie | Aug 7, 2016 |
I realized I've never added a review for this book. I'll keep it short and sweet:

Brilliant. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
When I red the book Perfume by Patrick Suskind I found it really interesting. It’s about a baby being born, left behind in a pile of fish guts unwanted by the mother. He was named Jean Baptiste Grenouille.

The story began when Grenouille screamed when he was born advocating for himself that he was among the fish guts where his mother gave birth and abandoned him. The mother was put to death for her cruel abandonment of him and four other children before him….After that no one wanted to look after him. No one knew he was born with a gift of extra-smelling sensations….. He was first placed with a wet-nurse who after three weeks gave him to Father Terrier in the village because she claimed that there was something wrong with him as he did not smell like a baby. As she didn’t know than was that his body had no odor but the child could distinct smells for miles around….The Father didn’t want to take care of him either so he brought Grenouille to Madame Gaillard's home for orphans. When he turned eight years old she also did not want him around any longer because she thought that the devil was inside him. She than took and sold Grenouille to Monsieur Grimal a tanner to work as a laborer.….

As he grew older he discovered how unique his sense of smell was. He however, didn’t have complete control of his profound gift that led him to commit his first unknown murder. As he struggled with his desire for an authentic beautiful aroma he dreamed of creating an scent for himself so people would know he was among them and would look up to him…..

Soon there was someone else who noticed Grenouille’s keen smelling traits. Mr. Balini who was a perfumer losing his sense of smell and falling behind other well known perfumer’s needed the boy. He was not of age yet so Mr. Balini went in search for the boy’s guardian. With no problem at all, Grenouille was bought and now worked for the perfumer and glover, Mr. Balini. Which at this time was good for Grenouille because he was in the right place to create the aroma he was looking for without anyone knowing. Then one day he came to another stage in his life and put his need to create this special aroma in the back of his mind and moved on……

As Grenouille grows older he would like nothing more than get as far away from people, places and things. So, he heads out on his own. He travels for miles until he could not smell any odors of any kind. He found himself alone on a high mountain seeing nothing as far as the eye could see. This is what he thought he wanted. He lived in a cave on the side of the mountain for a few years. There was no vegetation or food fit for a human to live on. He did find a smooth area on a rock that gave him water to lap up when he was thirsty. As far as food he ate bodies of dead bats from the cave and other insects he could find. He was no longer consuming any human eatables. Once again he came to another stage in his life where he decided to move on to civilization……

When he got back people were afraid of him. They couldn’t tell if he was human or not. His hair and beard was down to his knees and his clothes were very few and ragged. He told a wild story about someone kidnapping him and how they placed him in a hole and kept him there for seven years……

Once he was settled he went around looking for a job. He was hired by a lady who needed someone who could keep her in business flowing with other competitor perfumer’s. Just the job that Grenouille was wanting. His obsession had come back. He wanted to create that perfect scent. As he tried more and more variations of mixes he still couldn’t manufacture what he wanted. Then one day it came to him how to made the perfect scent. He would need the body odor from only young virgin girls. This is when he randomly took one young girl at a time and murder them and got what he needed from their bodies to create the fragrance he wanted. He had taken twelve beautiful young girls lives. The city was locked down. They were afraid and feared for all their daughters. Grenouille was almost done creating his scent to splash on himself so people would look up to him and notice he was human. He saved this one perfect girl for last. Then suddenly his last victim was taken away by her father to make sure her life was spared…..

Grenouille was going mad. He needed the girl to finish his special scent. He went looking for her. With his magnificent gift of smell he located her miles away. Her father had her hidden away and believed she was safe. Glenouille waited untill the father was fast asleep and got a ladder and climbed up to the room the daughter slept in. With no sound at all he crushed her skull and prepared her body. He rolled her up in animal skin for the odors he needed. As he waited six hours for the odor and skin of the young girl to seep into the animal skin he cut off her hair and set it aside. When enough time passed he unrolled the animal skin and pulled it aside with pieces of her skin still attached, delicate harmony of her scent and tossed her hair on it and wrapped it in a ball to carry under his arm on his journey back to the workshop. He had no feelings for her and just left her there unclothed in the middle of the bed……

Her father arose that morning and unlocked his daughter door to wake her knowing she was safely asleep in bed. To his horror she was dead. He took her body home for burial and determined to find her killer. It wasn’t long before he came across some information leading him to the shelter of Glenouille…..from there Glenouille was arrested and pleaded guilty….However, the story goes on in a bizarre manner…..It was a good book to read. And there is more to be read by the next reader who picks up this book….amazing…..

( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 243 (next | show all)
Just as Grenouille can manufacture a perfume that infallibly conjures up the same response in anyone who senses it, so Mr. Suskind creates words that provide a satisfying illusion of another time. Grenouille the perfumer becomes a kind of novelist, creating phantom objects in the air, but Mr. Suskind himself is a perfumer of language. This is a remarkable debut.
A delight to the senses, disturbing serial killer, must read!

» Add other authors (85 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suskind, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agabio, GiovannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flávio R. KotheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giralt Gorina, PilarTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vilar, JudithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallenström, UlrikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watteau, AntoineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In eighteenth century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
smell everything /
got lost in a world of greed /
devoured at market 
basic boy meets girl/
boy's fine nose loves girl's fine scent/
boy wants girl pomade

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375725849, Paperback)

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.

Translated from the German by John E. Woods.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:05 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Follows an odorless baby found orphaned in Paris in 1738 as he grows into a monster obsessed with his perfect sense of smell and a desire to capture, by any means, the ultimate scent that will make him human.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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2 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140120831, 0141037504, 0141041153, 0734306768

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