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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985)

by Patrick Süskind

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,589412249 (3.95)428
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture.… (more)
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1980s (22)
Europe (161)

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» See also 428 mentions

English (303)  Spanish (44)  French (14)  Dutch (13)  Italian (12)  German (9)  Swedish (6)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Norwegian (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (411)
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
Mi mayor lamento ante la lectura de este libro es no haberlo devorado de adolescente para que la embriagadora personalidad de Jean-Baptiste Grenouille hubiera influido en la construcción de la persona perfectamente capaz de vivir en sociedad que soy ahora, como hicieran Holden Caulfield, Ignatius J. Reilly o el protagonista de las [b:Memorias del subsuelo|517406|Memorias del subsuelo|Fyodor Dostoyevsky|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1175468845s/517406.jpg|50717723].

Uno de los libros que más me han atrapado en los últimos tiempos, con unas descripciones crueles y sin ambages sobre lo que Jean-Baptiste hace y se hace que me han resultado muy agradables en su lirismo. Si acaso, opino que el colofón de la historia no se alcanza al final del libro sino hacia la mitad, ya que la tercera y cuarta partes del relato, donde el protagonismo se comparte con personajes sujetos al contrato social, hacen que pierda un poco de fuelle. Me hubiera gustado más haber mantenido el punto de vista de Jean-Baptiste (frío, desapasionado sobre el mundo pero pasional con los olores) en vez de ceder la voz a terceros, pero entiendo que el autor lo necesitara para el contraste narrativo. Por otra parte, quién sabe si, con la misma extensión, se hubiera podido centrar en la historia única del protagonista sin que diferentes censuras hubieran solicitado su cabeza en bandeja de plata.

Debería ser lectura obligada en todas las escuelas del planeta, bien para una causa, bien para la otra. ( )
  tecniferio | May 12, 2022 |
Áhrifamikil saga. Süskind lýsir ævi manns sem fæðist án ilms en er með ógurlega næmt lyktarskin. Um leið er hann afbrigðilegur því alla samkennd vantar í hann í garð samborgara sinna. Hann einsetur sér að útbúa sér ilm líkt og allir aðrir hafa og gerir hvað sem hann getur til þess.
Þessi saga fékk meðal annars World Fantasíu verðlaunin 1987 fyrir bestu skáldsögu og er margföld metsölubók auk þess sem hún var kvikmynduð undir heitinu Perfume: The Story of a Murderer árið 2006 og vann til þó nokkurra verðlauna. ( )
  SkuliSael | Apr 28, 2022 |
Nederlandse editie gelezen ( )
  JAAFoster | Mar 2, 2022 |
For more reviews and bookish posts visit: https://www.ManOfLaBook.com

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Das Parfum. Die Geschichte eines Mörders) by Patrick Süskind (translated by John E. Woods) takes place in France, telling of a serial murderer with an extraordinary sense of smell, who is chiefly motivated by scents. Mr. Süskind is a German award-winning author and screenwriter, this book is, indeed, the best-selling German novel in history.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born with a gift, a sense of smell very few, if any, posses. This gift has helped him rise from the slums of 1800th Century Paris, to being an apprentice to Giuseppe Baldini, a prominent perfumer.

For Grenouille, however, mixing perfumes is not enough and he becomes obsessed with capture scents of objects. The “ultimate” perfume, however is the scent of young, beautiful virgins and the only way to capture it is to kill them.

This book was assigned to my teenage daughter at school. She read the first chapter and “hated it”, thought it was weird and equally disgusting. The descriptions of 1800th Century Paris, as well as Grenouille’s circumstances of birth were quite graphic.

I decided, however, that I should read Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind along with her, as I usually try to do. I read the first chapter and absolutely loved it. The author holds nothing back, describes the foul stench of Paris, the undeniably hard life, the disgusting existence.

“Grenouille’s mother, who was still a young woman, barely in her mid-twenties, and who still was quite pretty and had almost all her teeth in her mouth and some hair on her head and – except for gout and syphilis and a touch of consumption – suffered from no serious disease, who still hoped to live a while yet, perhaps a good five or ten years, and perhaps even to marry one day and as the honorable wife of a widower with a trade or some such to bear real children… Grenouille’s mother wished that it were already over.”

How can you not love a novel with this sentence in it? Kudos to translator John E. Woods!

This book is brilliant, insane and twisted – a grotesque fable, sometimes funny and beautifully written. Even my daughter came to enjoy it after the first chapter.

I loved the descriptions of life during that time, something you don’t often see. I’m sure that if we were magically transported to that time period, we wouldn’t be able to breath, to say nothing of being in the presence of other humans due to the stench.

Aside from the fantastic narrative, the book is also a lesson the history of perfumery. I also found the religious symbolism, as well as the analytical study of social and economics of the time extremely fascinating. ( )
  ZoharLaor | Feb 18, 2022 |
Really good, much better than I was expecting. Immensely readable, funny, unnervingly beguiling. Just read it.
  hierogrammate | Jan 31, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 303 (next | show all)
"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."
added by Nickelini | editNew York Review of Books, Robert M. Adams (pay site) (Nov 1, 1986)
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 (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Süskind, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agabio, GiovannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Łukasiewicz, MałgorzataTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barratt, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Craft, KinukoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Duran, TevfikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farkas, TündeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Flávio R. KotheTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gerulaitienė, VilijaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gorina, Pilar GiraltTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Αγγελίδου, ΜαρίαTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jonkers, RonaldTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Korte, HansNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lortholary, BernardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malisch, BarbaraProduzentsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moura, Maria Emilia FerrosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paravić, NedeljkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rønnow, TomTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tomanová, JitkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
VengerovaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vilar, JudithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wallenström, UlrikaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Watteau, AntoineCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Woods, John E.Translatorsecondary 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.
Hij sloot zijn ogen en concentreerde zich op de geuren die hem vanuit het gebouw aan de andere kant toewaaiden. Daar waren de geuren van de vaten, azijn en wijn en de honderdvoudige zware geuren uit het magazijn, en de geur van de rijkdom die als fijn gouden zweet uit de muren transpireerde en tenslotte de geuren uit de tuin die aan de achterkant van het huis moest liggen. Het was niet makkelijk deze tere geurtoetsen uit de tuin op te vangen, want ze trokken slechts in smalle linten over de gevel van het huis heen omlaag door de straat. Grenouille onderscheidde magnolia's, hyacinten, peperboompjes en rododendron.. - maar er leek nog iets anders te zijn, iets moorddadigs lekkers, dat in deze tuin geurde, een geur zo exquis als hij in zijn leven nog niet - of toch, maar dan maar één keer - in zijn neus had gehad...Hij moest dichter bij deze geur komen.
“Never before in his life had he known what happiness was. He knew at most some very rare states of numbed contentment. But now he was quivering with happiness and could not sleep for pure bliss. It was as if he had been born a second time; no, not a second time, the first time, for until now he had merely existed like an animal with a most nebulous self-awareness. but after today, he felt as if he finally knew who he really was: nothing less than a genius... He had found the compass for his future life. And like all gifted abominations, for whom some external event makes straight the way down into the chaotic vortex of their souls, Grenouille never again departed from what he believed was the direction fate had pointed him... He must become a creator of scents... the greatest perfumer of all time.”
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Wikipedia in English


Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture.

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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

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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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