Friday 29 October 2010

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

I had high hopes for this book as it was recommended to me by a friend,  someone who I usually share the same reading taste with.  It sounded like an original adult fairy tale, something I would love.

Synopsis: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born in 18th century Paris with an extraordinary sense of smell.  As he has no scent of his own, he is driven further and further in his quest to create the perfect scent.

Score: 2 out of 5

Unfortunately, I found this book to be silly.  I did enjoy the writing style and how the author described the setting and the people in a fairy-tale way, but it was just too silly for me.  I am prepared to suspend belief for a good story, but this seemed to have been plucked out of the air in a pretentious kind of way and not thought through properly.

The main problem I had (aside from the silly ending, which I won't spoil for others who want to read it) was that Grenouille was just not a developed character at all.  He didn't change or react to anything around him and although I could tell Suskind wanted him to be an anti-hero, I just didn't care what happened to him.  Some of the secondary characters were far more interesting and developed; the wet nurse, Richie, Baldini.  Grenouille seemed more like a plot device than a real person.

The 'magician's apprentice' chapters where Grenouille was learning his craft were interesting and it was a quick easy read.  Just one I was happy to be finished with.

Have you read this book?  If so, I would love to know whether you agree with me or not.


  1. I've read it and I've seen the film. I really liked the book, thought it was really well done. It's a while ago, but I remember liking how numb the main character was to his surroundings and other people. He was so caught up in his fascination with smells.

  2. It sorta sounds interesting and I like the bookcover. :)

  3. @AngelicNytmare
    I love the cover too, one of the main reasons I picked it up!

    It was interesting, just not what I thought it would be.

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