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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985)

by Patrick Süskind

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
15,886393244 (3.95)406
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets 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 Paris. Yet there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill ...… (more)
  1. 130
    The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (spiphany)
  2. 73
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (klerulo)
    klerulo: Both these works attempt to get inside the head of singularly amoral sociopathic murderers.
  3. 40
    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. 20
    The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-Reading Monster Hercules Barefoot: His Wonderful Love and His Terrible Hatred by Carl-Johan Vallgren (olyvia)
  5. 31
    Brother of Sleep by Robert Schneider (HazardMain)
  6. 43
    The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (norabelle414)
  7. 10
    The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (sturlington)
  8. 10
    De Sade's Valet by Nikolaj Frobenius (bluepiano)
  9. 00
    The Mind's Eye by Håkan Nesser (KittyTwist)
    KittyTwist: The dark side of human nature, presented in compelling, addictive writing that leaves you hungry for more...
  10. 22
    The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (spiphany)
  11. 00
    An Absolute Gentleman by R. M. Kinder (GirlMisanthrope)
  12. 00
    Tongue by Kyung Ran Jo (infiniteletters)
  13. 00
    Zeroville by Steve Erickson (VisibleGhost)
    VisibleGhost: An obsession with movies instead of scent.
  14. 44
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (freya727)
  15. 23
    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.
  16. 25
    Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist (mcenroeucsb)
1980s (32)
Europe (509)

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» See also 406 mentions

English (287)  Spanish (42)  French (14)  Dutch (13)  Italian (12)  German (8)  Swedish (6)  Portuguese (Portugal) (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (3)  Norwegian (2)  Hebrew (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (392)
Showing 1-5 of 287 (next | show all)
Bastante bueno. Me da la impresión que en el final se desarrolló bastante más rápido que en el resto del libro, pero en general me gustó bastante. ( )
  ItsAkirex | May 6, 2021 |
One of the best realized horror novels ever written. The creepiness level reaches epic heights. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
I first heard about Perfume from an officemate in 2017. He was mesmerized by the unique story of a serial killer portrayed in a film. Good thing I forgot about the spoiler, so I enjoyed reading more of this book until the end.
I do not read enough horror stories nowadays, but I can say that the novel is enthralling and will keep you awake at night. Perfume is one of the most amazing stories I have ever read so far, albeit I cannot guarantee that this will be in my all-time favorites.
Interesting characters and an intriguing plot worth reading.
Highly recommended for fans of dark stories. ( )
  DzejnCrvena | Apr 2, 2021 |
I had to leave a bit of a pause between finishing this book and putting my thoughts on it into words. Safe to say I have never read anything like it before. It reminds me a little of those early 18th century novels; Tom Jones and the like which follow a simple chap on his journey through life. Except that the 'hero' of 'Perfume' is a very different kettle of fish. He has a singular gift- the greatest nose in the world-which gives rise to some quite outstanding descriptions of smells, good and bad. But Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is certainly no rascal with a good heart but a cold, calculating, terrifying creation made all the more so by the flat, dispassionate style of writing. A wonderful addition to the all time great villains of literature. ( )
  Patsmith139 | Mar 15, 2021 |
I really wanted to like this book - it's a clever, original premise, a thoughtful dive into a not-often-explored art, and conjures up some excellent imagery (particularly the commentary on the scent of 18th century Paris at the beginning) - but couldn't bring myself to care about Grenouille or his superhuman slide through the events of the story. It's a strong starter, but it peters out rapidly. ( )
  skolastic | Feb 2, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 287 (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 (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Süskind, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Agabio, GiovannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Łukasiewicz, MałgorzataTł.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Barratt, SeanReadersecondary 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
Lortholary, BernardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Malisch, BarbaraProduzentsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moura, Maria Emilia FerrosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Paravić, NedeljkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rønnow, TomOvers.secondary 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 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 Paris. Yet there is one odour he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill ...

No library descriptions found.

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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