Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind
Survivor, genius, perfumer, killer: this is Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. He is abandoned on the filthy streets of Paris as a child, but grows up to discover he has an extraordinary gift: a sense of smell more powerful than any other human's. Soon, he is creating the most sublime fragrances in all the city. Yet there is one odor he cannot capture. It is exquisite, magical: the scent of a young virgin. And to get it he must kill. And kill. And kill.
I found this book enchanting, I was entirely captivated by the whole thing. The writing was rich in general, thoroughly descriptive and full of detail. At times Süskind assigns entire pages to the description of a single task or object, with a complete lack of tedium.
I particularly loved Süskind's obvious research into the art of perfumery, and the pregnant depictions that came from it.
I found Grenouille a bit difficult to relate to at first - he was born with a sense of smell superior to other human beings, and yet having no personal odour himself. However, as I progressed further through the book I found myself sympathising with him more and more and almost perversely hoping that his insane obsessions with scent would come to fruitation. The main reason for this, I believe, was Süskind's continuous portrayals of Grenouille working intensely to achieve his goals, which I believe everyone can relate to in some way.
The book made me laugh in many places, particularly during the descriptions of Grenouille himself - an ugly, hunchbacked little creature, who shuffled through towns, sniffing at air and objects as if it were an involuntary reaction.
Although I'm finding it quite difficult to express my opinions of the novel, I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who likes a challenge, it's work ploughing through for the freakish celebration in its final moments. I thought it was wonderful.
5 / 66 books. 8% done!