Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

Patrick Süskind's novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a book that warrants a mention here, even though most of the books I have been discussing are books I read in 2013. The book was written in 1985, and I read it a year or so later. It is an amazing book, reaching out and clinging on to the reader at the same time as it disturbs, revolts and even terrifies. While surrounding the reader with a barrage of images and smells from eighteenth-century Paris, it forces the reader to think about morality and even identity. The story tells of a man, Grenouille, who is born with an acute sense of smell - a sense far stronger than all his other senses combined. From the moment of his birth, Grenouille's life becomes a fight for survival, and, completely devoid of both sympathy and empathy, he meets the challenge. As a young man, he becomes apprenticed to a perfume maker where his talents regarding smell can finally be unleashed. Initially, he gathers the smells of flowers and herbs, later he moves on to inanimate objects like door handles, finally he turns his attention to beautiful, young women. Beautifully written with vibrant painterly descriptions of both images and smells, this is definitely a book that is worth reading.

 Photo of Patrick Süskind from pasiondelalectura.wordpress