Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Written by: Patrick Süskind

First line: 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.

Why you should read this book: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born in a trash heap, raised under the indifferent supervision of series of uncommitted caregivers, and is interested in nothing but the ever-growing catalog of odors discovered by his prodigy olfactory organ. With his magnificent nose, he become a valuable apprentice perfumer, but lacking a scent of his own, or any connection to the human race, he grows into a single-minded psychopath, intent on distilling the most powerful essence in the world: the smell of a beautiful young girl. With great descriptive strokes, this novel seduces the reader into Grenouille’s dark inner world of intense and amoral drives, many-splendored scents, and single-minded devotion to a horrifying goal.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You reject the glorification of the criminally insane and refuse to feel sympathy or identification for an intricately written literary character who just happens to need to commit acts of hideous evil.

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