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December 19, 2009

A Story of Smelling

Patrick Süskind:
Perfume:A Story of a Murderer
(1985)

A story of smelling, set in the 18. centruy in France. My first question was to this book: is it necessary to set this story in this century? Or is it that kind of „historical” fiction, which use the past only for spectacular scenery, which makes the story extravagant.

Well, I think, it was necessary, first of all because of the life of the Parisians in the 18. century. It was quite crowded on the modern way, but still quite medieval.

So, the story is about a murderer, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Grenouille means frog), who was an unwanted child, an orphan who has a special attribution, he has no personal scent, but on the other way he has the talent to recognise odours, like a dog, or even more perfectly. Like this attribution shows us, the story has several magical realistic elements.

As an orphan he has quite little chance to grow up, even to be one or two years old, but he survives all these years, even the hard times as an apprenticed to a tanner. This is one of the magical realistic elements.

And later, when he spends seven years in a cave, where he discovers finally, he has no personal scent, is for example an other one.

He creates his first perfume in th laboratory of a great perfumier, Baldini. He creates the perfumes, Baldini gives his name to them. Grenouille creates the perfumes quite easily. The real challenge begins for him many years later, when he starts to create human body odours, which influence the behaviour of other people to him.

The horrific part of the story starts after this, when Grenouille decides to kill young virgins to make an only one an perfect odour.

The end of the story remains true to itself, still full with horrific and magical realistic elements.
Although it’s a quite bizarre and sometimes disgusting theme, the basic idea and the storytelling makes it interesting. A really amusing book.

(This review was written to the Fall Into Reading challenge. More>>>)

3 megjegyzés:

Marie said...

Sounds like a fascinating, if somewhat disturbing, book!

Jessica said...

I enjoyed this book very much for it's uniqueness.

Hoppancs said...

It's a weird book. It's so well written you can "smell" everything in it. And it's quite disturbing sometimes.
Very sick piece of writing.

 
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