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

by Patrick Suskind

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
12,948320177 (3.94)310
Member:hemlokgang
Title:Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Authors:Patrick Suskind
Info:Vintage (2001), Edition: 1st Vintage International ed, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:1001 TBR, Germany

Work details

Perfume by Patrick Suskind (1985)

  1. 90
    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
    Brother of Sleep by Robert Schneider (HazardMain)
  5. 43
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (freya727)
  6. 10
    De Sade's Valet by Nikolaj Frobenius (bluepiano)
  7. 10
    The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading: Monster Hercules Barefoot, His Wonderful Love and Terrible Hatred by Carl-Johan Vallgren (olyvia)
  8. 32
    The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson (norabelle414)
  9. 00
    Zeroville by Steve Erickson (VisibleGhost)
    VisibleGhost: An obsession with movies instead of scent.
  10. 00
    Tongue by Kyung-Ran Jo (infiniteletters)
  11. 22
    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (spiphany)
  12. 00
    An Absolute Gentleman by R. M. Kinder (GirlMisanthrope)
  13. 23
    Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (mcenroeucsb)
  14. 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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» See also 310 mentions

English (237)  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 (320)
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
I was originally put of by this books popularity, but I'm glad I gave it a try. The plot is dark and unique, and despite sounding weird (okay, a little bit silly) it works really well. But honestly it was the writing style that made me fall in love with this book. Read it in German if you can, because the language is beautiful. ( )
  thedreadcat | Apr 9, 2016 |
There are geniuses in our midst - painters, musicians, writers, chefs, persons who work in mediums that one can see and hear and feel and taste - mediums that last. But for author Patrick Süskind, that wasn't enough.

In 1985, Süskind published what would become his best-known work internationally: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. And while little has been seen of, or from, the author since the novel's publication (and subsequent translation from the original German, plus a feature film in 2006) one is certain that within this medium lies his greatest strength; it's a kind of magical realism that pulls on the source of endless memories, and which relentlessly binds the reader to that world.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born into abandonment with no scent of his own, carves his way through life in pursuit of what one can only call the scent of pure love - that essence which he has been denied since before his untimely birth. This is not simply a novel about that fifth sense to which the title alludes, but about a man for whom that sense is so keen, and whose beacon of purpose shines so brightly, that the reader cannot help but urge him on to the finale. The protagonist (though I almost hesitate to call him that) is not your average serial killer, and his story certainly borders on the unusual.

Süskind's intoxicating prose is embellishment itself - labeling each and every scent of the world as if the olfactory genius is recalling them by scientific name and spitting them out like ticker tape onto the page. This kind of barrage of words might seem affronting, but in Suskind's hand it's magical and enticing. The words race towards the climax which is nothing short of a literal orgy which Grenouille has induced.

The film adaptation (which stars Ben Whishaw, and features Alan Rickman, Dustin Hoffman and Rachel Hurd-Wood) is a visual stunner that develops some of the finer points of Grenouille's education very nicely but, without the omniscient prose of the novel, much of the richness and detail is lost in the medium translation. One countdown (Laure's approaching birthday) is replaced with another (the 13 essences) more effective device, bringing things to a conclusion more swiftly, but losing delicate layers of aromatic ambience that make the novel shine. The film is a splendid portrayal of scent as a medium, but the novel is significantly more gratifying, and far more varied and interesting a feast for the consumer.

www.theliterarygothamite.com ( )
  laurscartelli | Mar 26, 2016 |

Originally posted here

Set within 18th century France, Perfume was a delight to read. The language used was so rich and descriptive, and it was fascinating to read about Grenouille's unique perspective of Paris as shaped by his extraordinary olfactory abilities. I am sure many cities in the 18th century just absolutely stank and Perfume does an amazing job of describing just how disgusting it could be.

Grenouille straight up gave me the creeps, he is just such a disconcerting character and not somebody I would want to meet in a dark alley that's for sure. The book did a great job of building up a sense of foreboding. Grenouille was an absolute psychopath with a bizarre obsession, even as a baby he creeped me out - but I was absolutely fascinated by him.

There is a lot of detail about perfumes and how they were made which I found to be so interesting. One of my favourite parts of the whole book was when Grenouille started to enter the amazing world of perfuming and like Grenouille, I was similarly full of wonder. There were plenty of parts in the book however, where it was unnecessarily slow or took some strange detours away from the main plot.

This book has one of the most shocking endings I have ever encountered. Such a horrific finale that I never could have predicted. Perfume was such a worthwhile read for me and I would heartily recommend it. ( )
  4everfanatical | Mar 19, 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 | Mar 13, 2016 |
I found this book really engrossing -- the basic premise is of a man with an extraordinarily (almost magically) sensitive nose, such that he separates and identifies every scent he's ever smelled. The problem, of course, is that he must find a way to possess the very few scents that entrance him... ( )
1 vote BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 237 (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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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.

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Book description
Haiku summary
smell everything /
got lost in a world of greed /
devoured at market 
(aychan)
basic boy meets girl/
boy's fine nose loves girl's fine scent/
boy wants girl pomade
(hauntedpuppydome)

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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4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140120831, 0141037504, 0141041153, 0734306768

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