perfume by patrick suskind

Posted on December 26, 2009

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Bog him, and these virgins. Maybe if they practiced a little more hygiene…

In 18th-century France, there lived a human monster, whose lack of personal smell equated to lack of humanity. In a time where stench was at its most vile and fragrance was at its most sublime, Jean-Babtiste Grenouille, born of an infanticide-happy fishmonger, was nobody. So shocked was he at his invisibility and so greedy was he for smell that he murdered virgins for their scent. Upon succeeding to create the ultimate perfume, he orchestrated an orgy, made the parents of his victims fall in love with him, and served himself up for a cannibal feast.

My sense of smell did not improve while reading this book, but my imagination of scent flowered from the overflowing words, like seeing wavy lines from a cartoon surface, and wilted from the shocking denouement that told me, love at its most passionate brings indigestion. But was he really a monster?

To the author, maybe. To me, Grenouille was  amoral, a genius, and not particularly bright. Suskind’s attempts at brainwashing was captivating though.

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Posted in: mysterious