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Perfume (International Writers) by Patrick…

Perfume (International Writers) (original 1985; edition 1989)

by Patrick Suskind

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12,314294206 (3.95)293
Title:Perfume (International Writers)
Authors:Patrick Suskind
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1989), Edition: later printing, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind (1985)

Recently added byprivate library, WonderMonter, paulinewiles, Aly_Locatelli, Book_Minx, AntT, Pickiej
Legacy LibrariesEeva-Liisa Manner
  1. 90
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (spiphany)
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    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (klerulo)
    klerulo: Both these works attempt to get inside the head of singularly amoral sociopathic murderers.
  3. 30
    Brother of Sleep by Robert Schneider (HazardMain)
  4. 20
    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.
  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)
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    An Absolute Gentleman by R. M. Kinder (GirlMisanthrope)
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    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 293 mentions

English (216)  Spanish (30)  French (11)  Dutch (10)  Italian (8)  German (6)  Swedish (5)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Norwegian (2)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (294)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
Maybe it was just the time period this story is set in but at times it reminded me of Sweeney Todd. Just without the random song outbursts and with a main character who was extraordinarily creepy in his complete lack of humanness.

It's the extreme lack of humanity in Grenouille that is what made this book so creepy for me. The narrator likens him to a tick, a person with cold detachment from anything remotely resembling human emotion and with a self-serving drive that is the only thing spurring him onward through life. From the moment he's born Grenouille is shown as lacking a key component that signals humanness, a smell. His lack of smell immediately disturbs people, even if most of them don't understand why they have such a strong aversion to a child. Because of this, he gets passed around and generally has a pretty shitty childhood. Yet, despite seeing how sadly his childhood unfolds, Grenouille evokes no sympathy because he has no emotional reaction to anything that happens to him. He just accepts whatever is thrown his way and quietly watches the world while he bides his time. When Grenouille finally decides on a path he wants to pursue he does so in a methodical and ruthless style that is chilling in how easily he seems to accomplish it.

While Grenouille was terrifying in his lack of humanness, humanity itself was disturbing in how the book managed to boil them down to being purely animalistic beings who ultimately are led by baser instincts despite their belief otherwise. Grenouille manages to lead masses of people by using nothing more than their basic sense of smell. He creates perfumes for himself that evoke specific emotional reactions that he changes to meet in correspondence to what his needs are at the moment. His ultimate goal in this is to create a scent that would cause humanity to worship him as a god. This is where my one problem with the book came up, which was actually more of just a mild irritant. The key element for Grenouille's ultimate scent is young virgin women. This had me rolling my eyes that somehow young virgin girls smell so different and so pure that a condensed and large amount of their smell would cause people to believe that the person wearing said scent was some kind of deity. Gag. Other than that, I loved this book and would strongly recommend it to anyone who is fan of horror or psychological thrillers. ( )
  Book_Minx | Jan 24, 2015 |
Quote: "He who ruled scents ruled the hearts of men." ( )
  nlgeorge | Jan 19, 2015 |
One of my favourite books ( )
  fross | Jan 8, 2015 |
დიდ ხნიანი ოცნების შემდეგ წავიკითხე და გადაინაცვლა​5-ში მე-2 ადგილზე!!!! სასწაული წიგნია. გრუნეი კი მიუხედავად​ თავისი ბოროტი ხასიათისა მაინც გმირად რჩება და ვაფ​ასებ რადგან სწორედ მისმა განხსვავებულობამ აქცია იგ​ი ბოროტმოქმედად. და საერთოდ ბოროტმოქმედად არ ვთვლი​ რადგან ხელოვანი იყო და თავისი საყვარელი საქმისთვი​ს იღებდა ამ მსხვერპლს​ ( )
  buqu | Jan 3, 2015 |
This was one of those ones that people I respect loved, but I just couldn't bring myself to give a fig for. I always give those my full attention assuming something will improve by the end but...no. ( )
  cjeskriett | Jan 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (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 (62 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Suskind, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agabio, GiovannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallenström, UlrikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watteau, AntoineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (2)

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:54 -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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Penguin Australia

4 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140120831, 0141037504, 0141041153, 0734306768

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