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Freewheeling Andy

Patrick Suskind - Perfume

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Jean-Baptise Grenouille was born in the most foul-smelling place in the foulest smelling city in the world, Paris. Yet despite (or perhaps because) of the place of his birth, he had no odour of his own, but a preternaturally refined sense of smell.

 

In the end, he knows no pain, and has no real emotions, except for those associated with smell. He never develops morality, or drive, except for that related to his nose.

 

This book is a fantastically evocative tale of someone with no "soul", brilliantly written, wonderfully dark. Grenouille is the master perfumier, has the greatest nose of all, and begins a quest to create the perfect odour for himself, the blank cypher.

 

The book itself is full of feeling, despite the main character being basically soulless, being self-destructive, and the book itself being one of the blackest, most quietly brutal books I've ever read.

 

A great book, I think.

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I just read Perfume the other day. I have to agree its a great book. Due to the subject matter, its probably not for everybody, but its a great look into the mind of an amoral killer.

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Not for everyone, probably true. But I think it's probably better "horror" than most horror novels that are about.

 

True, because its so matter-of-fact..No mumbo-jumbo or hocus pocus...just a really evil human being.

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Ooh, i think this is another one to add to my ever-growing list - it's intriguing me!

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I agree, it's very scary. And the ending .... ouch. I read it years ago and still remember. Excellent.

 

I still have no idea what the point of it is, though, unless of course we count providing exquisitely written, bit sick entertainment...

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I tried it but it failed to capture me. I was quite bored by the halfway point and wishing it would pick up story wise. I wasn't captivated by the huge descriptive passages of, well, not much really, and I do feel like I missed out on something great but I just couldn't see it. A bit like those magic eye pictures..... I never was too good at them either. :)

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Perfume is superb, and has one of the best closing scenes I've read. I wonder if the film will be any good?

 

My only regret is that Suskind has written so little in the 20-odd years since - a couple of novellas and a few stories.

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I remember reading this one when it was first published 20 yrs ago. I really enjoyed it very much at the time and found it to be a great horror

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I can remember the smells that float out of the book more clearly than I can remember the smell of my favourite foods! Suskind is so very evocative in Perfume's descriptions.

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..thought I'd stick my Perfume movie post here (originally posted in the cinema thread), to catch the people that have read the book and seen the film, I'm quite interested in the crossovers. I'm not sure I want to read the book, knowing the harshness of the story (think I'm too delicate to read it!).. let me know what you thought of the movie!!

 

______________________________________________________

I went to see 'Perfume' last night (I think, or the night before!). I haven't read the book and knew a little of the story. What I had imagined the story was, was completely different to what was revealed, so it had me pretty well gripped for the whole 2 and a half hours! The scenery is spectacular; the landscapes and the scenes of France were incredibly beautiful. I loved the way the movie captured the smells (difficult to do I imagine!). The movie used disgusting images that were very dully lit, which worked really well for the horrible smells, they really did repulse you. There were alot of 'urghs' in the audience! The nice smells were encapsulated with beauty, succulent fabrics, very nice lighting and a sense of euphoria or lust. It was very well done!

 

The worst part of the film for me was that the movie was set in France, yet some characters spoke with a cockney accent, or an ordinary 'british' accent or american...or...in the case of Dustin Hoffman, an american accent with a hint of france thrown into the odd word (which annoyed me even more!). I think it would have enhanced the film for me if it had remained true to being set in france, I would even have enjoyed it with subtitles!!

 

The story was great though, a really original and interesting idea; and really quite tragic to my mind. I may have to have a search for a thread on Perfume when I'm more awake to discuss the ins and outs of it more (hopefully the film isn't too different from the book).

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read this book about 10 years ago....completely forgot about it till I had some old boxes of books that I'm donating brought down from the attic....this gets to stay:)

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Perfume: a disapointment.

 

What a great concept for a story. A man with an exquisite sense of smell, driven mad by it in fact, but with no smell of his own. I had high hopes for a gritty, and eerie story of murder and madness, with a touch of the historical; but alas this book failed to deliver. The plot was ill crafted, disjointed, and in some places - pointless filler. The denoument; an orgy with cannibalism to boot, how can you fail to horrify with that?....well Suskind did. The book is 255 pages and about 100 of them a pure extraneous crap and serve no means. Perhaps in the hands of a gifted editor this could become a great short story.....

 

Not recomended.

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I read it quite recently and liked it! Thought it was an easy read. Perhaps a bit of a gloss over quite a serious topic but loved the whole premise.

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