Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (1985) by Patrick Süskind

A fascinating novel. Very evocative prose, revolving around descriptions rarely used in literature, all focused on scents. The novel is interesting, it’s different, it’s macabre, it’s original, it’s unique. Can’t say I particularly enjoyed reading it in the strictest sense, especially as I often found the descriptions too sickening to fully appreciate the craft behind them, but it’s certainly an impressive work. I also found the hyper-fixation on virginity somewhat repulsive as well. I’d be more forgiving if this was wrote in centuries past, but it was written in the 1980s, and I thought the nonsense about virginity somehow having a scent undercut the psychosexual explorations elsewhere in the book. I’m not sure it ever truly arose beyond being something of a literary gimmick, but it was certainly a hell of a ride.

I give it three distilled odours, and some journeyman papers.


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