John Wiswell's Reviews > Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Perfume by Patrick Süskind
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's review
Nov 07, 12

Recommended for: Historical fiction readers, fantasy readers, readers who love bizarre characters
Read in July, 2006

I had a heck of a time thinking who I'd recommend this to. It won a Fantasy award, yet I can't call it Fantasy. It's set in a bygone period, but it doesn't play with history, so it's not Historical Fiction. It's about a murder, yet it's not terrifying like Horror, nor is it a mystery. It's just the story of a peculiar boy who became a dangerous and most interesting man. He was born without an odor, you see, and lacking that part of identity, became obsessed with smell. That identity crisis triggers philosophical, religious and morbid chords in the book, yet none dominate. If anything, a dark curiosity dominates it. The book has a slightly menacing monotone about it that is almost hypnotic, and lays a surreal lens over the brilliant and crisp descriptions Suskind provides for his world. It's an angry, dangerous little book that baffled literary critics and inspired Nirvana. Read it and label it for yourself.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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Darth Fierce Short but very sweet review. And I really like how you detailed that how it doesn't fall into any of the default categories were used to tagging books with.

message 2: by Agitatus (new) - added it

Agitatus Well, and it's also one of the best movies I've ever seen. Incredible.

Jesse Oh I'm looking forward to this. Just started it today, had no idea you had read it as well!

Chloe Finch I love this review, I always thought the same about Perfume not fitting into a particular genre. It's my favourite book of all time (perhaps because I was born with anosmia, so I've never had a sense of smell myself). It's hard trying to recommend it to people, because explaining its genre or what it's about is difficult without making myself sound like a creep! Haha. I first heard of it in my high school English class, when my teacher read us the first two pages and I just fell in love.

Christopher silent but menacing, almost hypnotic monotone. frickin' *exactly*. none of the themes dominate, the introspective musings go where they should without ever stagnating. EXACLY. you really summed up why I LOVE THIS BOOK. Reading Perfume was the most exciting read for me since reading 1984 for the first time 8 years ago.

Dorcas The book was spellbinding from begin to finish! I loved it very much. The characters and the surroundings were so vivid.
The translatorJohn E. Woods ,really did a very fine job! It's almost like it was written in a first language and not a translation at all.
Thank you, suskind and Woods for a job well done.

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