Bringing Up Books: Perfume

Perfume by Patrick Suskind

by Patrick Suskind

To kick start Bringing Up Books I decided to choose one of my favorites, Perfume. The disturbing story, with an opening set in 1738, follows Jean-Baptist Grenouille from his abandonment in infancy and throughout his life. Grenouille has two unique qualities that carry the story: he has no personal aroma and he has an extraordinary sense of smell. People find themselves repulsed by him (unknowingly) because of his lack of personal aroma. As disgusted as people are of him, e too is disgusted by people. His acute sense enables him to smell every unpleasant odor from long distances. In his childhood he finds himself apprenticing for a perfumer and learning, honing and expanding his abilities to create perfumes. It is here he uncovers hi life’s passion -to create the perfect perfume. As the story evolves the reader continues to follow Grenouille through his passion, obsession, insanity and horrific actions.

This novel tops my list for scariest book. The way Suskind develops Grenouille, making the reader understand, sympathize and wish him success, and at the same time the reader begins to realize the complete lack of moral, the detachment, and the obsession, it puts the reader in the mind of an insane criminal. I have a love/hate relationship with this book. I enjoy the story and most of all the charater because of the complex emotions I feel towards him. However, I was left unsatisfied at the end -enough to make me hate this book as well. Although, I do believe that lack of satisfaction only makes the story even more horrifying.


I highly recommend this book for anyone looking for a creepy delve into the obsessed, insane mind of a criminal.


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