"Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off,...more"Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it."
"For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they could not escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath. Together with breath it entered human beings, who could not defend themselves against it, not if they wanted to live. And scent entered into their very core, went directly to their hearts, and decided for good and all between affection and contempt, disgust and lust, love and hate. He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men."
3/4 of the way through Perfume, I was going to tell you all in my review that if you're a fan of Dexter or maybe even True Blood, you might enjoy this book. Then I realized at the end that I was being too simplistic. It's for lovers of words, language, history, descriptions and loving to hate a character.
It's a strange thing writing a whole book about smell. Smell is one of our few senses that doesn't translate to images, words, or descriptions. I always find perfume ads amusing, because they have to evoke an emotion they are hoping consumers will feel when they do finally smell the scent. Young mother hanging the laundry! Sexy woman in a bustier in the basement of a Speakeasy! Man on a horse holding jewels!
Yet scent, at its heard, instantly takes us to our memories. I think I've finally figured out that the distinctive smell that infused my grandparents' house in South Dakota was a mix of talc, pine scented cleaner and fresh baked cookies. I might be wrong, but every once in a while I whiff something close to this and am immediately back in their 50's era kitchen with the big round drawer pulls.
I think Süskind succeeded in drawing the reader a scented picture of mid-eighteenth century France. He then layers that with the development of a poor, weird creature who only has his hyper-olfactory nerves as an asset. The story ends up being bizarre, fascinating, and altogether horrifying, with layers upon layers of scent.
Definitely not a book for everyone.
Oh, and by the way, the lead character's name, Grenouille, means frog in French. Do frogs have a smell?(less)
Fascinating. I was mourning the end of this book - that I would no longer get to spend time with the Igbo people of Umuofia. Then I discovered that Ac...moreFascinating. I was mourning the end of this book - that I would no longer get to spend time with the Igbo people of Umuofia. Then I discovered that Achebe wrote two sequels: No Longer at Ease and Arrow of God. Hurrah!
I highly recommend the African Writers Series edition. It includes two essays to help put the book in context: "Chinua Achebe and the Invention of African Literature" and "Igbo Culture and History." This series is published by Heinemann, the same publishers who took a big chance on Achebe and Things Fall Apart in 1958.(less)
I'll have to think about whether I want to write a full-on review for Les Mis. I do want to quickly mention that my r...moreApril 1, 2011 Big Read selection.
I'll have to think about whether I want to write a full-on review for Les Mis. I do want to quickly mention that my rating is partly a relative one compared to War and Peace - a similar, sweeping novel that was in part inspired by Les Mis. Les Mis wins the great novel war, hands down. The characterizations are brilliant. The action (when it happens) is compelling. Hugo has a great sense of pacing, timing, and building up climaxes. Both suffer greatly from mostly irrelevant non-fiction commentary and asides. I swear those are there to build up the authors' egos. Mon dieu!(less)
I switched the shelf on this one from "sci-fi" to "spec-fic." The time travel is ancillary to the story, but the mechanism isn't the focus. Like Time...moreI switched the shelf on this one from "sci-fi" to "spec-fic." The time travel is ancillary to the story, but the mechanism isn't the focus. Like Time Traveler's Wife.
I was completely sucked in by the characters Butler created. I found myself thinking about the characters when I wasn't reading - wondering what they were up to, what's next.
It's a quick read, and I finished it in just a few sittings.
I can't wait to read some science fiction by Butler!(less)
An alternate-history detective story. The novel is set in 1949 in an England that negotiated a peace agreement with the Third Reich just 9 years previ...moreAn alternate-history detective story. The novel is set in 1949 in an England that negotiated a peace agreement with the Third Reich just 9 years previously. An aristocrat is murdered at the Farthing estate on the eve of an election and in the midst of social change in democratic Britain.
This was feeling like a 3-star book until the last handful of chapters. Also, this excellent review from BunWat gives me much more respect for the book and the setting.