I was skeptical and didn't think I'd be crazy about this book, but, I was hooked from the beginning. Very intriguing, I was waiting with baited breath to see what odd events in the life of Grenouille would pop up next. A creepy story, while far-fetched, it was oddly believable. Great descriptions of the unsanitary living conditions in 18th century France. What an absolutely enthralling tale. I recommend it!
What a strange, beautiful and yet somewhat gruesome book. It's a fantastical story, an awful lot like Isak Dinesen's European tales. In odoriferous 18th century France, a strange child is born who has an extraordinary gift of comprehending the world by all its various scents. He himself is a conscienceless little monster. Eventually, he becomes a master parfumier, and discovers that the finest essence he's ever smelled is that of virginal young girls on the very edge of maturation. He decides he must somehow possess that essence, a resolution that leads him into violence. This is a lyrically written book -- the description of the various scents of daily life are incredible. Some readers are likely to find the prose rather mannered. The authorial voice is definitely fairy-tale-ish. But it's also a rather gruesome story. I think this is a love it/hate it book. You have to be able to tolerate a despicable anti-hero as the main character. I'm teetering in my verdict even now, as I mull it over. I think its allegorical elements go too far toward the end. But that the texture of Ancient Regime France is wonderful and again, the description of the smells! It's only February but I'm sure it will be one of the most unusual books I've read this year.
Patrick Suskind's dark fable explores the psyche of a man who possesses the world's most powerful and refined sense of smell. Throughout his life, Grenouille is obsessed with scents, longing to name them, to manipulate them, and finally to possess them.
The book moved slowly for me at first, but Suskind's evocative writing and his forays into the depths of Grenouille's black soul kept me turning pages to see how it all would end. Other characters, including Baldini the master perfumer and the amateur scientist Taillade-Espinasse, lent some sly humor to the story.
As Grenouille moved closer to the culmination of his obsession, I turned pages faster and read the last quarter of the book in one sitting. Everything fell into place for a horrifying, but completely appropriate ending.
This novel was strange yet brilliant. The story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who was born without an odor in 18th century Paris -- a city of stench. Yet he has an amazing sense of smell which is the essence of this novel. Grenouille is possessed by this sense of smell and his ability to recall and recreate smells. He uses this "gift" to become a master perfumer but he is constantly seeking and must possess the essence of a young woman. This story kept me engrossed clear through to its startling conclusion.
The prose is eloquent including the descriptions of the smells of the stench of the city and the smells of the perfumes created by Grenouille. Some of the descriptions reminded me of another interesting novel I read last year: The Great Stink by Clare Clark. Ill have to watch for the movie version of Perfume to see how well it translates to the screen. Overall, I would recommend this novel.
this is a book that I wouldn't have read except that my bookclub chose it. it is the type of book that has enough ambiguity in it to generate a lot of discussion. on the surface, the book is an interesting story about a man with a superb sense of smell and how he chooses to use that gift.
if you are looking for a light easy read, this is NOT the book for you.