Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Rate this book
An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind's classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man's indulgence in his greatest passion—his sense of smell—leads to murder.

In the slums of eighteenth-century France, the infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with one sublime gift—an absolute sense of smell. As a boy, he lives to decipher the odors of Paris, and apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille's genius is such that he is not satisfied to stop there, and he becomes obsessed with capturing the smells of objects such as brass doorknobs and fresh-cut wood. Then one day he catches a hint of a scent that will drive him on an ever-more-terrifying quest to create the "ultimate perfume"—the scent of a beautiful young virgin. Told with dazzling narrative brilliance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

263 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1985

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Patrick Süskind

68 books3,465 followers
From 1968-1974 he studied medieval and modern history in Munich and Aix-en-Provence. In the '80s he worked as a screenwriter, for Kir Royal and Monaco Franze among others.

After spending the 1970s writing what he has characterized as “short unpublished prose pieces and longer un-produced screenplays”, Patrick Süskind was catapulted to fame in the 1980s by the monodrama Der Kontrabass (The Double Bass, 1981), which became an instant success and a favourite of the German stage. In 1985 his status as literary wunderkind was confirmed with the publication of the novel Das Parfüm. Die Geschichte eines Mörders (Perfume: The Story of a Murderer), which quickly topped the European best-seller list and eventually sold millions of copies worldwide.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
172,967 (39%)
4 stars
157,053 (35%)
3 stars
78,491 (17%)
2 stars
24,084 (5%)
1 star
10,284 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 22,803 reviews
June 3, 2014
I was predisposed to love this book no matter what. I love perfumes. The fact that this book had blood and murder was just a bonus.

For me, perfumes and scents are a visceral thing. I love perfume. I have never been a visual person, my memories are composed of layers of scent.

I remember as a child, growing up in Vietnam, visiting my elderly neighbor's house and having him give me a cup of black tea infused with jasmine. Those jasmines would put the pitiful little star jasmines to shame. They were huge, each petal as wide as a fingernail. White, waxen, and filled with the most beautiful, deep, richly floral scent that even as a 5-year old I could feel was seductive without ever knowing the meaning or the existence of the word.

I remember sleeping with the window open, as the night air was filled with the scents of the flowering trees that grew outside my grandparents' house. I remember the green, earthy smell of the rice paddies where I grew up. I remember the bitter, smoky smell of the pits (so environmentally destructive, but whatever) that my neighbors dug in which they burned wood slowly for months to make a small supply of coal. Not all the smells were pleasant, of course, because hello, I did grow up on a farm, but my memories are built upon scent.

My love of perfume grew when I was a teen. I learned about perfumes, and how they were made. I learned about how flowers were distilled for their scents, an enormous quantity of raw ingredients required for a few precious drops of essential oils. I learned about making aromatic compounds in an organic chemistry lab, and that my beloved scent of jasmine (and tuberose) smelled as beautifully seductive and sexual as it did because it contained a compound called indoles, which smells like poop. Who knew!

I learned that each perfume as a top note, which quickly dissipates, the middle notes, which remains, the base notes, which lingers onto your skin like the touch of a long-gone lover. I learned that musk can smell rank, like sweaty, animalistic sex on top of a slice of Muenster cheese, or it can smell like the warmth of a mother's embrace.

There are certain scents I will never be able to wear again, because one I wore for months, while longing after a guy I thought I could never have. Another I can't smell without wincing, because it reminds me of heartbreak and tears, despite the fact that it came in a rose-colored bottle and smelled like green tea and lemons.

This book is a perfume lover's dream come true. The entire book could have had no mystery at all, and I would still read it and revel in the descriptions alone.

The Summary: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was a bastard, born in 1738 to a syphilitic, consumptive woman working in a stinking fish stall as a gutter. After delivering the unfortunate child, she was promptly arrested for abandoning said child, and hanged.

A most auspicious beginning.

Even in the beginning, his wet nurse---paid for by the state---noticed that something was wrong with Grenouille.
“I don’t mean what’s in the diaper. His soil smells, that’s true enough. But it’s the bastard himself, he doesn’t smell.”
Babies have a smell, some stink, but underneath it, there's always a warm, cuddly smell that even a cold, heartless, child-hating woman such as I can appreciate. Grenouille has no scent.

People notice. His fellow children notice.
They could not stand the nonsmell of him. They were afraid of him.
As a teen, he sought work at a tannery in Paris. Paris is a stinking pit of hell. To Grenouille...it is heaven, with its amalgamation of scents.
It was a mixture of human and animal smells, of water and stone and ashes and leather, of soap and fresh-baked bread and eggs boiled in vinegar, of noodles and smoothly polished brass, of sage and ale and tears, of grease and soggy straw and dry straw. Thousands upon thousands of odors formed an invisible gruel that filled the street ravines, only seldom evaporating above the rooftops and never from the ground below.
Grenouille knew he was not normal, but his obsession for the pursuit of a scent never really gained traction until he committed his first murder, for love of a virgin's scent.
...the sweat of her armpits, the oil in her hair, the fishy odor of her genitals, and smelled it all with the greatest pleasure. Her sweat smelled as fresh as the sea breeze, the tallow of her hair as sweet as nut oil, her genitals were as fragrant as the bouquet of water lilies, her skin as apricot blossoms... and the harmony of all these components yielded a perfume so rich, so balanced, so magical, that every perfume that Grenouille had smelled until now, every edifice of odors that he had so playfully created within himself, seemed at once to be utterly meaningless.
The scent of a living human being that he must commit to memory, that he must capture, in the way a flower collector dries a specimen within parchment, in the way an insect lover kills and pins to a page the very thing he loves.
When she was dead he laid her on the ground among the plum pits, tore off her dress, and the stream of scent became a flood that inundated him with its fragrance. He thrust his face to her skin and swept his flared nostrils across her, from belly to breast, to neck, over her face and hair, and back to her belly, down to her genitals, to her thighs and white legs. He smelled her over from head to toe, he gathered up the last fragments of her scent under her chin, in her navel, and in the wrinkles inside her elbow.
His is an obsessive quest that will lead him to murder again, and again, and again, in this desperate search.
Grenouille knew for certain that unless he possessed this scent, his life would have no meaning.
This is a book in which the title is completely self-explanatory. It is about a murderer, and his obsessive quest for a perfect perfume. It's something I understand, in my constant search for the Holy Grail of fragrances.

But I have yet to succumb to the urge to murder. >_>
Profile Image for هدى يحيى.
Author 9 books16.2k followers
August 5, 2021

أي رأس يحمل ذلك الباتريك على كتفيه
أعني ..‏
حقا كيف استطاع انتاج أعجب كائن في تاريخ الأدب الإنساني؟
كيف رأه في عقله قبل ان يخطه على الورق..؟
كيف نشأ هذا الغرينوي في تلابيب أفكاره...؟
هل اشتمه ذات ليلة يا ترى
فقرر تحويل عطره الفريد إلى سطور ادبية..؟؟
لا يمكن!!
فغرينوي لا رائحة له

وهذه هي الطامة الكبرى...‏

غرينوي ولد بصفات غير بشرية
يحمل في داخله الأسطورة القديمة ليتيم فقير دميم
كرهه الجميع ونفروا منه من اللحظة الأولى
حتى أمه-في مشهد من أشنع ما يكون
تتخلص منه فور ولادته وهي جالسة على مشنتها العطنة في سوق ‏السمك

غرينوي مكروه
غرينوي مسكين
غرينوي بلا أهل
هل تظن القصة مكتوبة في القرن الثامن أو التاسع عشر
عن فتى مسكين يتعرض لقسوة الحياة والظروف
هل تظنه أوليفر تويست؟؟

لا تدع كلماتي تخدعك‏

غرينوي شرير
غرينوي غير طبيعي
غرينوي مخيف

تخيل كائن ما ينبض أمامك ويتنفس دون أي رائحة تصعد منه
عندما تقترب من كائن كهذا وتتأكد من خلوه من اية رائحة كانت
يقشعر بدنك
تخاف الاقتراب منه
فإن عرفت أننا في زمن بعيد بعيد
حيث تسيطر أفكار اللعنات والشياطين على عقول مغرقة في الجهل والفقر
تعرف لما كان غرينوي يبعث النفور في الآخرين جميعا‏
كل هذا في جوٍ لا ينسى زوسكند أن يخبرك عن مدى نتانته
فرائحة باريس في الشوارع الفقيرة بالذات لا تطاق

عندما يكبر غرينوي ويتعلم صنعة استخلاص العطور
لا يكفه الورود ‏
فأنفه الخارق الذي يعرف ما لا يعرف إنس ولا جان
يحاول أن يستخلص عطر كل شيء
وأنا أعني كل شيء

عندما يبدأ غرينوي في القتل
عندما يبدأ في سحق الفتيات الجميلات
عندما يبدأ في استخراج شهقات الرعب من أعمق أعماقك
أنت لا تكرهه

أنا لم أكرهه
بل إنني حتى كنت في بعض الأحيان أخشى أن ينكشف أمره

غرينوي استطاع سلخنا من مشاعرنا الآدمية
لنلهث وراء قداسة عطره السري

ولكن ابدا لم نتخيل أنه به يستطيع امتلاك العالم وإحناء هامة الجميع
أبدا لم نتخيل أن لمؤلف هذه القدرة الفذة على استخراج خيالات وصور لم ‏تجرؤ أهم قصص الفانتازيا على تصورها

وأبدا أبدا أبدا لم نتخيل هذه النهاية ‏
وهي العجب ذاته

ابتلاع الآخرين لغرينوي ‏
شعوره بالحب للمرة الأولى
أنه حقا مرغوب من الآخرين
مرغوب لدرجة... الالتهام..‏

الرواية لم أقرأها في البداية
سبقها الفيلم المذهل إخراجا وتصويرا وآداءا
وهو الفيلم الوحيد الذي يمكنني حقا ان أقول أنه كان على نفس مستوى ‏العمل الأدبي المقتبس عنه
فكاميرا المخرج وآداء البطل كانتا على نفس درجة براعة زوسكيند في ‏السرد والحكي

الرواية تجربة شديدة التميز
وحالة عجيبة من الفانتازيا والرعب
وكل هذا مضفور في أسلوب بارع للكاتب
استطاع به أن يحكي الكثير عن النفس البشرية
لكائن أبعد ما يكون عن البشرية بمعناها المعروف

أنا لازلت أحبك
أتمنى أن تكون وجدت السكينة متناثرا بين شوارع باريس
ذرات أنف خارق وبقايا عزلة لا ذنب لك فيها

Profile Image for Bryce Wilson.
Author 10 books163 followers
July 22, 2008
Because sometimes you just have to read about an 17th century perfumer who may or may not be the Anti Christ and goes on a killing spree, before starting aa giant omnisexual fuckfest and being voluntarily cannabilized.

Ah literature. That's why I read you, the class. The class.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Molly.
220 reviews24 followers
April 21, 2009
I want my last 2 weeks back. I dove into this book expecting a hell of a lot more than I dragged out of it. From the very beginning I did not like the author's writing style and should have known then that this book just wouldn't be for me.

This book is set in the mid-1700's France and centers around a horrid man who has no redeeming qualities other than the fact that he has likely the most perfect sense of smell in the history of mankind. But he uses this skill for selfish and evil purposes and we get to come along for the story of his life - if you could call it that.

The premise of the story seemed interesting enough, and of course the title tells us that there is going to be murder so that always makes for interesting reading. But I just found it to be extremely boring and tiresome.

The author obviously did his research relating to all things perfume - the methods involved in it's creation - both chemically and artistically - and the importance of it's purpose in that point in history. But he goes overboard with list after exhaustive list of ingredients or steps within a process or varieties to be found. He can't help but describe every minute detail, not just of perfume, but of the landscape or the people. I love descriptive writing - I truly do - but I do also like to have an exciting plot to keep me involved. By the time he finished describing a scene I forgot why we were there.

This book lulled me to sleep and caused me to welcome distractions rather than turning the page so it took me a lot longer than a book of this length normally would. I know that it is loved by many and was recommended to me by several whose opinions I value. But this one just didn't cut it. Even when the action picked up in the last 50 pages or so, it became extremely bizarre and made me wonder what the heck the point was exactly.
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,119 reviews44.8k followers
May 13, 2020
“He possessed the power. He held it in his hand. A power stronger than the power of money or the power of terror or the power of death: the invincible power to command the love of mankind. There was only one thing that power could not do: it could not make him able to smell himself.”

Perfume is a story about social isolation; it’s a story about not belonging in the world and the negative effects this can wrought on one’s mind. It’s also a story about obsession, a singular pursuit for perfection regardless of the costs.

Consequences simply do not matter for Jean. He is completely detached from reality; he lives in his own world of scent, invisible to all others. Murder means nothing to him because he does not fully understand what he is murdering. He has no feelings. He cannot comprehend what it is to snuff out a life because he is not truly alive himself. He is dead inside and numb to all else in his differentness.

“He realized that all his life he had been a nobody to everyone. What he now felt was the fear of his own oblivion. It was as though he did not exist.”

“He had withdrawn solely for his own personal pleasure, only to be near to himself. No longer distracted by anything external, he basked in his own existence and found it splendid.”


As such befalls misery for all those that meet him. His talent is remarkable and his motivation (when roused) is unstoppable. His singular pursuit for his goal is uncompromising and he will stop at nothing to achieve the most perfect of scents. The secret ingredient he has been looking for comes his way and he cannot rest until he has it. Innocence is a mighty hard thing to harvest, though it is the missing piece he has been looking for; it will give his perfume the power to inspire love: it will be irresistible.

However, as the tale of Icarus taught us, those who fly too high will burn. As such the ending of this is simply perfection. The moment captures the heart of the book in one beautifully horrific frenzy of emotions and desire. The delivery is masterful. I knew it was coming (I’d seen the film many years previously) though I don’t think the film could every quite capture the intensity and euphoric nature of the situation.

The only reason I have not given this five stars is because I found it rambled a little in places. I think the story could have been cut back and made tighter and more effective, though I loved the prose and the plot. Jean makes for an interesting character study for sure.


You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,310 reviews120k followers
November 24, 2022
In 18th Century France a baby is born who lacks any scent. He does, however, have a deep and strong survival urge. Although he is treated as a pariah by many for his condition, he possesses a parallel condition, a heightened sensitivity to aroma. It is his quest to experience life through smell, and he does so. He is also a cold-hearted sociopath who seizes opportunities where he can to advance his particular desires. It ends badly for him, but that is a good thing.

The author

This is a very interesting book. I was rapt. Until I was done it was an unhappy thing to have to put it down unfinished, due to interruptions like work, sleep and eating. Thankfully I was able to complete it. Perfume is an odd story, perhaps, but also very interesting, providing some payload in depictions of 18th Century Europe and information about aroma in general and perfumery in particular. Much recommended but not for all tastes...or olfactory receptors.

Profile Image for John Wiswell.
Author 41 books429 followers
November 7, 2012
I had a heck of a time thinking who I'd recommend this to. It won a Fantasy award, yet I can't call it Fantasy. It's set in a bygone period, but it doesn't play with history, so it's not Historical Fiction. It's about a murder, yet it's not terrifying like Horror, nor is it a mystery. It's just the story of a peculiar boy who became a dangerous and most interesting man. He was born without an odor, you see, and lacking that part of identity, became obsessed with smell. That identity crisis triggers philosophical, religious and morbid chords in the book, yet none dominate. If anything, a dark curiosity dominates it. The book has a slightly menacing monotone about it that is almost hypnotic, and lays a surreal lens over the brilliant and crisp descriptions Suskind provides for his world. It's an angry, dangerous little book that baffled literary critics and inspired Nirvana. Read it and label it for yourself.
Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
378 reviews33.9k followers
May 5, 2022
Ugh nie cierpię tej książki. Koszmarnie nie moja. A ilość słowa „olfaktorycznie” to naprawdę dramat, ale to już chyba kwestia tłumaczenia. Nic mi się w niej nie podobało :(
October 28, 2022

The novel exhibits the paramount power of smell, as the ultimate invisible agent in channeling emotions, and the same power used to befool humans and victimize them, as we all perceive smell with our senses before discerning it with our own mind!
It is a perfect psychological thriller, inundated with the gamut of smells! 😊

This could have easily ended up being one of my longest reviews, but tried my level best to make it as succinct as possible! I openly divulge, it was outrightly daunting to review a novel of this gigantic amplitude, expounding on themes beyond my creative contemplation!

Patrick Suskind
, had done his deep-research on all olfactory senses and scents, on the power of dreams, on cold-heartedness and greed. Above all, he astutely drove his protagonist on a pathway to acquire godlike omniscient powers, thus leading to a tragic end!

It is an epic tale about the journey of Jean Baptiste Grenouille, the most gifted and abominable personage in the 18th century France, when all the streets, marketplaces and atmosphere smelled fiendishly with the effluvia and putrefying vapors from sewers, decaying life and stale animal droppings!
It is his story of abysmal evil while on the quest of inventing one of the world’s most exotic perfumes.
My personal sense of smell was utterly dulled, my tummy ached, and the pain deadened all senses, post-reading the 18th century abject, abysmal and rotten smells seething, mingling, and impregnating Paris, in the opening novel.
Patrick was a Wordsmith in delineating senses while cleverly intertwining them with a plot beyond anyone’s contemplation. Though, later ongoing comprehension was thrilling and full of fragrance! 😊

Patrick Suskind easily proved his mettle as the KING of “the human olfactory senses”!

He ostensibly describes, the urge and want of heavenly bliss, by the French, helping them to transcend from the abysmal abject pungent reality of the 18th century into a subtle realm surrounded by seraphim and exotic fragrance!

Patrick, astutely sets up the tempo for us readers, to mentally let go the temporal reality, and be ready to travel with him vicariously into a realm of sheer and sensual placidity, using only one tool , and that is – our acute sense of SMELL!

Since my childhood, apart from the picturesque memory, I personally basked in the power of smell, as the superlative agent to channel and mold my own emotions and wishes.

Without any further ado and divergence, let me dive into a very basic/superficial abridged novel summary (without spoilers)-
The infant Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, is born with a sublime majestic gift of “an absolute sense of smell”! Traversing through all the atrocities of childhood, he grows into deciphering all the odors of Paris, and apprentices with an eminent perfumer, who mentors him with the ancient art of mixing and distilling aromatic herbs, precious oils, flowers, woods, seeds and everything that can render into a heavenly smell and bliss! 😊
But the obsessive and ambitious Grenouille is unstoppable and boisterous, and becomes all the more consumed with capturing smells of objects like brass doorknobs, fresh cut-wood and the like.
One fine day, he catches a hint and tinge of scent that drives him onto the most perturbing and terrifying quest of creating “The ultimate perfume” of the scent of a beautiful young virgin! What follows is a series of murders and sensual depravity and perversion! What follows is profane and sacrilegious.
It is tale told with majestic brilliance, leaving the readers captivated, intoxicated with words and smells, in complete awe!

Suskind, has very cleverly used means to unveil how human senses can be easily dulled and eluded by a mere whiff of an exhilarating smell!
He endows the protagonist not only with a captivating and magical sense of smell but also arms him with a destructive obsession, that sets the plot into motion.
Grenouille, doesn’t view the world, with eyes but through smell! In short, his soul feeds on smells of all kinds, and in deprivation, it hungers more and sets-out onto more precarious deadly obsession!
With an isolated abandoned childhood, mayhem and death follows, wherever Grenouille goes! The revelation, that scents are not immortal or permanent, and that they cannot be preserved, incites and ignites the murderer instincts in Grenouille! His sole ambition in his life, now confines just to “preserve the human scent”
It sounds cannibalistic, but no scent lures him, not even the ones concocted in the laboratory, but only human scent!

He is never disconcerted or unnerved, butchering bodies, just to intoxicate himself with the scents gathered. That’s ghastly and obnoxious.
Suskind has shrewdly balanced the softness and delicacy of the topic of perfumes with the mayhem and dismemberment of destructive obsession!

The protagonist lacks on sentiments and human emotions, his diabolical obsession takes precedence!
All the hurdles and obstacles faced in concocting the perfume, ends up concocting his own END!

My verdict- “perfumed-4-stars”.
Subtracted a star, due to my lack of grasping it in its entirety in my first read. It is profusely laden with smells and vocabulary, which I couldn’t register in totality, might add on the missing star, post my re-read, and hoard it all! 😊

It is a perfumed, artfully crafted psychological thriller, that inebriates and stupefies not only the reader’s sense of smell but vision too, with the artful usage of words!

It is a masterwork of heavenly artistic conception and flawless execution. An extravagantly gripping page-turner. A thrilling and compelling story of a man with a magical sense of smell but with a bewilderingly and bizarrely destructive obsession, that leads to the flawless execution of the novel in the most illuminating, outlandish, incredible and intoxicating manner, which takes over your mass and bones and leaves you craving for all the more!
I was left inebriated for a good enough time, ofcourse in a good way! :-D

Unsolicited advice
– Anyone lacking on olfactory senses, without any further delay pick up this novel!
Anyone lacking on adventure in life, without a second thought pickup this novel!

I don’t know how I am ought to smell, but currently I smell of all the mystery and awe, post the thrilling and chilling read!

There is again a gargantuan truckload of quotes, so battled my way out to pick up a few (without disrespect to the ones I couldn’t pick):-

“The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.”

“The cry that followed his birth, the cry with which he had brought himself to people’s attention and his mother to the gallows, was not an instinctive cry for sympathy and love. That cry, emitted upon careful consideration, one might almost say upon mature consideration, was the newborn’s decision against love and nevertheless for life.”

“Which is why the façon de parler speaks of that universe as a landscape; an adequate expression, to be sure, but the only possible one, since our language is of no use when it comes to describing the smellable world”


“We are familiar with people who seek out solitude: penitents, failures, saints, or prophets. They retreat to deserts, preferably, where they live on locusts and honey. Others, however, live in caves or cells on remote islands; some—more spectacularly—squat in cages mounted high atop poles swaying in the breeze. They do this to be nearer to God. Their solitude is a self-mortification by which they do penance. They act in the belief that they are living a life pleasing to God. Or they wait months, years, for their solitude to be broken by some divine message that they hope then speedily to broadcast among mankind. Grenouille’s case was nothing of the sort. There was not the least notion of God in his head. He was not doing penance nor waiting for some supernatural inspiration. He had withdrawn solely for his own personal pleasure, only to be near to himself. No longer distracted by anything external, he basked in his own existence and found it splendid.”

“What he coveted was the odor of certain human beings: that is, those rare humans who inspire love. These were his victims.”
Profile Image for Adina .
890 reviews3,542 followers
December 7, 2020
Despite its name, Perfume is not a pleasant book. Quite the opposite, it is terrifying and gore for the most part. The perfume the author builds between the pages reeks. It is a combination of what is worse in humans: body odor, vileness, jealousy, pride, and finally murder.

Since the novel is a classic (and a movie), I suppose the plot might be fairly well known so I will resume it a few words. We begin in the slums of Paris in the eighteen century where a baby boy is born and dumped in the trash. His lungs are quite powerful and it screams his way out and into the cold world. The little boy is passed around from caretaker to caretaker until it becomes obvious there is something quite different about him. Baptiste Grenouille has an incredible smell while he does not have any body odor himself. He also possesses an amazing capacity to survive through disease, hard work and unfriendly individuals. After learning all about the smells of Paris he decides he wants to create fragrances and becomes an apprentice to one of the oldest perfumers in Paris. As you can imagine, Batiste proves to be genius at creating new smells but he also becomes obsessed to find the perfect fragrance which in the end it will lead to murder.

Perfume is an original and unique novel and similar to some smells, it both repulsed and entranced me until the last page. It is about the creation of a genius and a monster, about the stinks of Paris and the enticing world of perfumery. The writing is not always perfect, it a bit dated but still it was a book like I’ve never read before. Recommend but not for everyone, something I keep saying a lot lately. It seems my reading choices are a bit creepy lately
Profile Image for Cindy.
10 reviews
October 30, 2018
I don’t know what compelled me to finish this book but it was the worst book I’ve ever read. I get that Jean-Baptiste has an extraordinary sense of smell and that his obsession leads him to murder. I understand the irony of it all: that he was born abandoned and died in an act of love. Even so, there was nothing about the story that was vaguely likable. I know it’s fiction but it seemed completely unrealistic and ridiculous to be even remotely appreciated. Furthermore, it takes forever to reach the part of the book where Jean-Baptiste actually starts to murder people because there’s a huge, useless portion of the book dedicated to 10 years of his life when he goes into hiding in a mountain. Also, there is no climax (unless you count the execution/orgy scene which I thought was the stupidest scene ever). How could someone be compelled to write such a useless piece of crap and worse, how could a book gain such fame as to be deemed an international bestseller?

I hate this book. It was a waste of time. I don't recommend anyone should read this book... not even my worst enemy!!

**EDIT: I’m reading my review 11 years later and it makes me laugh. Although I still don’t like the book and stand by my review I don’t know why my tone sounds so crazy. 🤷🏻‍♀️ LOL.***
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Patrick.
267 reviews93 followers
April 11, 2008
This book was different and brilliant. The story of an orphaned boy born without a scent, but with an incredibly refined sense of smell, the book drags a bit in parts, but the ends justify the means, in more ways than one.

All things considered, the book is a valentine to the beauty, elegance, and power of smell. A truly underrated sense, Suskind reminds the reader of just how powerful an effect our sense of smell can have. Although Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (one of the great names in contemporary fiction)'s amazing sense of smell seems the sort of thing that is unquantifiable in most any medium, Suskind makes it work perfectly. His vivid descriptions almost evoke the smells he is describing into reality, and his characterization of Grenouille is nothing short of perfect.

Grenouille is, of course, an abhorrent, vicious, loathsome character, and Suskind takes great pains to point this out literally at various intervals throughout the story. However, despite his actions and the way he is described, Suskind cleverly says one thing and shows another, presenting Grenouille as the unquestioned hero of the story, allowing him to come across as, at the very least, sympathetic (if not pitiable), and at most, a man whose single-minded drives and desires leads to the reader outright rooting for him to succeed in his horrific acts.

As the subtitle of the book is 'The Story of a Murderer', I don't think it gives anything away to say that the book climaxes in the brutal murders of 25 women that Grenouille uses to create the most perfect smelling perfume the world has ever known. Despite all the difficulties Grenouille encounters, all the opposition and roadblocks (and it's indisputably true that Grenouille was dealt a bad hand in life), he still takes his lumps admirably and never wavers from his pursuit of his dream, which, at its heart, is something I think everyone aspires to be able to do. Furthermore, when Grenouille finally does achieve his dream, he is heartbroken to discover that, after everything, it was not what he'd envisioned. Sadly, I think that is something people can relate to as well. And so it is that the story of a murderer ends up as something everyone can relate to.

One of the ways Suskind is able to so perfectly pull this off is to disassociate Grenouille from these abhorrent acts. Throughout the story, we see only Grenouille striving and working hard to achieve his goal. Then, at the cusp of putting it into motion, the story suddenly changes perspective from the actions of Grenouille to their aftermath and the perspective of the local townspeople. It's a jarring and effective method that allows the reader to still root for Grenouille, as they still are very much aware that Grenouille is responsible for these horrific actions, but disassociates him from the brutality of them by only speaking of them in an offhand manner (i.e. the chaos they create, rather than the actual detailed acts themselves).

All that said, the end of the book is insane, but wonderfully so. It's completely out of left field and it's almost hard to accept that what is happening is real and not some sort of dream (which it isn't). The reader is left waiting for the moment when Grenouille opens his eyes and we're told what really happened, but it never comes. Compared to the climax, the end of the story almost makes perfect sense, when in any other story it would be seen as equally insane, if not more so. But don't let it detract you from reading the book. It's true, you'll either love it or hate it, but no matter what you'll be unable to say it wasn't worthwhile.
Profile Image for Steven  Godin.
2,493 reviews2,374 followers
September 12, 2023

Due to a bit of a cold lately, I couldn't smell the cinnamon sprinkled on my Frothy Coffee, nor the aromas of fresh croissants walking past the patisserie, or the preparation of an evening meal consisting of mussels cooked in garlic butter. I love these smells, they are just as important to me as taste, damn this cold!, if only I had the nose of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, having a cold wouldn't have made any difference, I could smell the fresh fish markets from a mile away!. No interest though in hunting virgins for their scent thank God.

Süskind's novel (which I didn't even realise has been so popular) is Set in 18th century France, and tells the grim story of one Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a physically and emotionally abused orphan who is blessed with a supernatural gift, the great sense of smell. His frenzied obsession for odours guides him in a ghastly perverse way to search for the lost origin of his identity. A genius of aroma, Grenouille himself lacks a personal odor, signifying an absence of individual identity, but never mind, he can just go about stealing that of others. As he discovers his olfactory virtuosity, he becomes increasingly obsessed with inventing new fragrances, particularly his own, which he attempts to create artificially by extracting and blending the corporeal scents of young virginal women he murders. His great hope is to create the ideal perfume that will give him the magical essence of identity. He despises the rest of mankind, but still is solely driven by a desire for the attention and affection of others, he wants to be top dog, the hell with everybody else. At the moment of his crowning glory, however, Grenouille knows that the aura of identity created by his magic perfume is an illusion, and that it has been hate rather than love that drove him to become a genius of perfuming. After this epiphany, Grenouille goes barking mad, and surrenders himself to a gory finale.

This book was good, I enjoyed it for the most part, but for me, it wasn't great, as viewed by a lot of others. The plot is unique and skilfully done, not only in Grenouille’s characterization, but also because Süskind has done his homework on 18th century France and the science behind perfume. He describes Grenouille and his actions with a detached demeanor, thereby heightening the horrific nature of Grenouille’s actions by not commenting on that nature, this leads to the problem though of very little coverage in Grenouille's despair as he realises that everything he did was in vain and ultimately unsatisfying to both him and me as the reader. And the repetitive prose and unfocused paragraphs had me skimming the odd page here and there. I can see why it has had big appeal, because on the surface, the premise is so startlingly different, so kudos there, and he gets a range of emotions from sympathy when a filthy young orphan, to disgust and hatred when he starts his murderous quest.

Even tough the chilling horrors of Grenouille's actions are painted in such realistic tones, the novel on the whole never really got under my skin as I thought it would, it's good in places but pretentious in others, and summing up the central character he was just too two-dimensional for my liking. Not the sort of book I would normally read, so at least it was a break from the norm.
Although I am still a long way off wondering around in grandpa slippers, I felt this novel was maybe intended for a younger audience.
Forget the fish guts, cow hide, boiled puppy and dead virgins, I will stick to the mint, lavender, bergamot, sandalwood and tonka bean of Jean Paul Gaultier.

A lightly scented 3/5
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,731 followers
August 20, 2016
اهلا بكم في رواية ينبعث من صفحاتها عبق ما... رواية رائعة ذات رائحة

لا ليس بهذه الطريقة مستر جرين ...لم أقصد رائحة الكتب الساحرة التي آلفناها
بل هي رواية ذات روائح مختلفة ومتعددة تسبب لك مزيج من المتعة، القرف، النشوة، الحنين، الاشمئزاز و اﻷثارة..والجمال...رواية عطرية بعطور متعددة مختلفة
أهلا بكم في فرنسا القرن الثامن عشر..كما لم تراها تشتمها من قبل
في ذلك الوقت لم تكفي عطورها الشهيرة اخفاء نتن فقر شوارعها وحتي أهلها قبل الثورة ..وفي دكان بيع سمك بأقذر أحياءها يولد جان باتيست جرينوي ..القاتل
قاتل لأنه ليس له رائحة مميزة...مجرد عديم الرائحة , أو ربما كما اقترح عليّ احد الأصدقاء في التعليقات هنا- عديم الشخصية
لذا صار يسرق من غيره رائحتهم...شخصيتهم .. جاذبيتهم
في رواية عجيبة , وجرائم فظيعة..ورائحة عطور مختلفة

ولنقسم الريفيو كما الرواية الي 4 اجزاء

الجزء اﻷول
ومع كل الرائحة الزفرة حوله في دكان السمك، او رائحة باريس العفنه..يولد جرينوي بإعاقة شاذة...فهو بلا رائحة مميزة، بل بلا أي رائحة علي الأطلاق، ليس هذا فحسب بل أن سوء الحظ وشؤمه يقع علي كل من تولي رعايته وهو صغير حتي ينتقل في سن الثامنة للعمل في مدبغ جلود بائس
وحتي يصل لعمر الثالثة عشر تتغير حياته عندما يكتشف اجمل عطر التقطته انفه، عطر فتاة جميلة حمراء الشعر ، وقد كلفها شغفه برائحتها عمرها القصير...بينما ظل هو أسير مثل هذا العطر النادر

ونكتشف أن جرينوي يميز الروائح كلها ببراعة غريبة ويفسرها وحتي قدرته علي الكلام والتسمية تعتبر في احسن احوالها عند ربط المسمي بعطره

وفي الجزء اﻷول ايضا نتعرف علي بالديني العطار صانع الروائح، العجوز والذي سحب منه البساط لصانعوا العطر الجدد
وفي الليلة التي ينوي فيها اعتزال العمل نهائيا لشعوره بالعجز لتصنيع عطور جديدة ... يدخل حياته جرينوي بالصدفة ليقلب حياته رأسا علي عقب
وايضا تنقلب حياة جرينوي الذي يصقل موهبته الفطرية الغريبة والغير عادية, ويبحث عن كافة الوسائل الممكنة لتحقيق غايته الغريبة المجهولة لنا حتي الأن
وينتهي الجزء الاول النهاية الطبيعية لعلاقة العمل الغريبة بين جرينوي وبالديني، ولكن بعد ان عرف جرينوي كل طرق الحصول علي العطر من اي شئ ، إيا كان

في هذا الجزء تتجلي براعة الرواية وفكرتها الاساسية بل وعبقرية الراوي في وصف العطور المختلفة, ليس "العطور,البرفانات" فحسب وانما تقريبا جميع انواع الروائح

اعجبني جدا ايضا في هذا الجزء التقسيم بين نصفه الاول المخصص لنشأة جرينوي والنصف الثاني المخصص لبالديني وكيف كان السبب في بداية وضع جرينوي علي الطريق الوحيد الذي يصلح له، طريق العطور

كما ان بالرغم من ان الجزء الاول ليس مليئا بالاحداث، وقد يغلب عليه السرد بكثرة. إلا انه 'محكما' روائيا وايضا بالنسبة لتصوير مصائر كل الشخصيات التي ظهرت به بطريقة تصويريه بارعة بحق
كذلك المشهد الذي تنتهي فيه حياة جريمال صاحب المدبغ بينما تبدأ حياة جرينوي الجديدة من المشاهد المكتوبة سينمائيا بدقه فعلا


الجزء الثاني
يذهب جرينوي في رحلة للبحث عن ذاته ... بالعزلة التامة عن الناس
وفي هذا الجزء يكتشف ، في نصف الرواية بالضبط ، شذوذه الغريب، أنه بلا أي رائحة بشرية. ..بلا رائحة علي الإطلاق... مما كاد يفتك به
ولكن جرينوي ذلك القراد القاسي... ذلك القملة المقيت مصاص الدماء يأبي أن يموت

ولهذا نتعرف في النصف الثاني من هذا الجزء علي الماركيز اسبيناس ذو الاكتشافات العلمية الغريبة، والتي بفضلها ينجح في أشفاء جرينوي ليصير إنسانا طبيعيا ظاهريا
ولكنه لا يعلم أن شفاء جرينوي التام كان له سببا اخرا اهم, أنه نجح في مقصده اﻷول. .. خلق رائحة له

في هذا الجزء ايضا يغلب السرد والذي كاد يكون مملا بالنسبة لي في نصفه اﻷول ولكن ما يميزه هو أن المؤلف أضاف بصورة بارعة الحالة العامة لفرنسا أنذاك ...إجتماعيا.، طبقيا، دينيا وعسكرياً, ظهور التنوريين والماسون وتطرف الجماعات الدينية الي اخر اهم ظواهر ذلك القرن دون اسهاب او ملل

كما أن الجزء الخاص بتعريف نظريات الماركيز العلمية الغريبة أثارت أهتمامي جدا خاصا وانها مكتوبة بتفصيل غريب

الأمر الآخر أن أيضا في هذا الجزء رسم المؤلف النهاية للشخصيات بالجزء الثاني ايضا كما ي الجزء الأول, فقدم تفصيل لكيف انتهت شخصية الماركيز

الجزء الثالث

وهنا تبدأ الاحداث في الاثارة
وهنا ,بعد منتصف الرواية تقريبا يبدأ جرينوي كما حدد ,تنفيذ اسطورته الشخصية كما يقول العم باولو كويللو

بالمرث الساخن والبارد سيحاول الوصول لغايته الغريبة -ستقابل الكثير من الكلمات الغير معتادة نوعا ما في تلك الترجمة , ولكن سهل معرفة معناها بالاحداث- ليحقق اهم عطر في حياته
وليصل لاسطورته...وايضا حقيقته
ومن رضيع عديم الرائحة ولد علي ارض زفرة نتنة..الي معشوق اهل المدينة الصغيرة التي كانت محطتة الأخيرة

وكي لانحرق الاحداث بالنسبة لهذا الجزء, الذي كان به شخصيات مثيرة كان من الممكن "مرثها" اكثر لاستخراج احداث اقوي , او حتي نهايات محكمة كما في الجزءين السابقين

ولكن من اهم نقاط القوة هنا ايضا غير وصف العطور والروائح, شرح ممتع لصناعة مراهم العطور والصابون و روح العطور الخالصة والفروق في صناعتها بشكل غير مسهب وغير مختصر او مبهم..فكان هناك توازن جيد

كما ستظل من اهم نقاط القوة التي أحتسبها للمؤلف هو تقديمه لمشهد جامح دون السقوط في الأبتذال او الاسهاب البذئ ككتاب أخرين

لن نحرق المزيد من اﻷحداث وسنكتفي بان يكون حديثنا عن أصغر الاجزاء هو الكلمة الاخيرة لريفيو تلك الرواية الفريدة

الجزء الرابع
تقييمي لهذا الجزء هو ما انقص شيئا بسيطا من التقييم النهائي, منذ اواخر الجزء الثالث الي الجزء الرابع شعرت ان الاحداث بدات تنتهي بخفوت كالعطر, الاثارة والقوة تتطاير لتنتهي الرواية فقط بشعور انك جربت عطر رائع ولكنه انتهي اسرع مما كنت تريد

ربما تكون هذه ميزة,لكني شعرت اني اريد نفحة اقوي بالنهاية...تمريث اكثر قليلا علي الساخن :)
ولكن ستظل الرواية لها مكانتها فعلا بين الروايات المتميزة

العــطـر , رواية فريدة...فكرة جهنمية وشخصية غريبة وطريقة سرد تجعلك تشتم كل العطور والروائح التي تم ذكرها

تجعلك تشعر بالنوستاليجا الشمية "الحنين لبعض روائح الماضي" وستجد عقلك يحاول البحث عن وصف لتلك الروائح كما وصف العبقري باتريك سيسكيند الروائح بتلك الرواية , تذكرت عطر ابي المفضل في الثمانينات واوائل التسعينات
اعجابي الغريب برائحة الاستيكة, ضيقي من رائحة اثار الخبز والجبن الابيض في حقيبة المدرسة, عشقي لرائحة السجاد الجديد في محلات الموكيت والسجاد و و و و
حتي عطر رائحته كالماء والتي شممتها في يوم ما في احد الدروس وظللت اتذكر اني شممت عطر الماء وحتي الان اتمني ان اجد مثله
Aquamarine اشتريت مؤخرا شاور جل برائحة
وهي فعلا رائحته مقاربة ولكني مازلت اتمني ان اجد مثل هذا العطر

ولا ننسي الرائحة التي أسرتنا جميعا اعضاء الجودريدز..كمستر جرين في اول الريفيو..رائحة المجلات والكتب
وبالحديث عن رائحة الكتب
يبدوا انهم مرثوا الكثير من الكتب لينتجوا هذا العطر ذو رائحة الكتب
عطر "عشق الورق" حقيقي ويمكن شراءه من موقع امازون او اي موقع تسوق

بعد هذا الاعلان الغير مدفوع للاسف :) , ارشح لكم رواية العطر فعلا كنموذج متميز وفريد لافكار الروايات
رواية غريبة خارجة عن المألوف

رواية ستشمها وانت تقرأها..حرفيا

محمد العربي
من 25 اغسطس 2014
الي 29 اغسطس 2014
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
December 3, 2021
(Book 243 from 1001 books) - Das Parfum. Die Geschichte eines Mörders, Patrick Süskind = ‎‬Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Suskind

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a 1985 literary historical fantasy novel (published originally in German as Das Parfum) by German writer Patrick Süskind.

The novel explores the sense of smell and its relationship with the emotional meaning that scents may have.

The story mainly concerns Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (French for "frog"), an unloved 18th-century French orphan who is born with an exceptional sense of smell, being able to distinguish a vast range of scents in the world around him.

Grenouille becomes a perfumer but becomes interested in murder when he encounters a young girl with an unsurpassed wondrous scent.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «عطر: سرگذشت یک جنایتکار»؛ «عطر»؛ نویسنده: پاتریک سوسکیند (زوسکیند)؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش نسخه فارسی روز بیست و دوم از ماه سپتامبر سال2002میلادی

عنوان: عطر: سرگذشت یک جنایتکار؛ اثر: پاتریک سوسکیند (زوسکیند)؛ ترجمه مهدی سمسار؛ نشر مهدی سمسار، سال1372، در311 ص؛ شابک ایکس-964875818؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان آلمان - سده20م

عنوان: عطر؛ اثر: پاتریک سوسکیند (زوسکیند)؛ مترجم: رویا منجم؛ نشر تهران، نگاه سبز، سال1379، در272ص، شابک9645639115؛

عطر: قصه یک آدمکش، رمانی است که «پاتریک زوسکیند» نویسنده «آلمانی» آن را در سال1985میلادی منتشر کرده‌ است؛ در زاغه های «فرانسه»ی سده ی هجدهم میلادی، نوزادی به نام «ژان بپتیست گرنویی» با استعدادی ناباورانه، به دنیا میآید؛ او حس بویایی بی نهایت قدرتمندی دارد، و تشخیص بوهای مختلف حتی از راه دور، برای او کاری بسیار ساده است؛ او در کودکی، وقت خود را صرف رمزگشایی بوهای مختلف «پاریس» میکند، و شاگرد عطاری، برجسته میشود، که به «ژان»، هنر کهن ترکیب عطرها، و گیاهان ارزشمند را آموزش میدهد؛ اما کار در یک مغازه ی عطرفروشی، اصلاً برای نبوغ «گرنویی» کافی نیست؛ «ژان بپتیست» در یک روز به رایحه ای برمیخورد، که او را وادار میسازد زندگی خود را صرف خلق «عطر غایی» کند؛ رمان «عطر سرگذشت یک جنایتکار»، با ارائه ی داستانی درخشان، و حیرت انگیز، بدون شک یکی از برترین آثار ادبی چند دهه ی اخیر است؛ این کتاب به چهل و پنج زبان ترجمه شده، و بیش از پانزده میلیون جلد از آن در جهان به فروش رفته‌ است؛ براساس داستان همین کتاب، در سال2006میلادی نیز فیلم «قصه یک آدمکش»؛ به کارگردانی «تام تیکور» ساخته شده است

نقل از متن: (در فرانسه ی سده ی هجدهم میلادی، مردی میزیست که یکی از بااستعدادترین و پلیدترین شخصیتهای عصری بود، که شخصیتهای با استعداد و پلید کم نداشت.)؛ پایان نقل از متن کتاب؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/10/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 11/09/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for BookHunter محمد.
1,431 reviews3,348 followers
December 14, 2022

وَلَمَّا فَصَلَتِ الْعِيرُ قَالَ أَبُوهُمْ إِنِّي لَأَجِدُ رِيحَ يُوسُفَ ۖ لَوْلَا أَن تُفَنِّدُونِ

اليوم يقرأون كتبا لا تثير إلا الاضطرابات. يكتبها البروتستانت و الانجليز. يكتبون نبذا أو ما يطلق عليها اسم الأبحاث العلمية العظيمة. يضعون فيها كل شيء و كل شخص موضع الشك. لم يعد أي شيء صحيحا و صار على كل شيء أن يتغير فجأة. فجأة يسبح في كأس الماء آلاف الحيوانات الدقيقة التي لم نكن نراها من قبل. فجأة صار الزهري مرضا عاديا جدا و ليس عقابا إلاهيا. فجأة تبين أن الله لم يخلق العالم في سبعة أيام و لكن في ملايين الأعوام. هذا ان كان هو خالقه! فجأة صار المتوحشون بشرا مثلنا. فجأة صرنا نربي أطفالنا تربية خاطئة و لم تعد الأرض دائرية كما كانت بل مسطحة في أعلاها و أسفلها مثل بطيخة. و كأن الحياة تتوقف على مثل هذه الأشياء! يتساءلون و يبحثون و ينقبون في كل المجالات. يدسون أنوفهم في أي شيء و يجربون كل شيء. لم يعد يكفي القول أن هذا موجود و تلك كيفيته. لا! الأن يجب تقديم البراهين. يفضل طبعا تقديم شهود عيان و إحصاءات و تجارب تدعو للسخرية. كل هؤلاء .. ديدرو .. دالامبرت .. فولتير و روسو و أمثالهم من الوراقين. بل و بينهم سادة من الكنيسة و النبلاء. تمكنوا فعلا من أن ينشروا قلقهم الغدار. باختصار .. الفوضى اللانه��ئية التي تنخر في رؤوسهم على جميع ساحات المجتمع.

انطلق في غرينوي تهليل آخر. تهليل أسود. إحساس شرير بالنصر. جعله يرتعش و ينتشي كمن ينتعظ. و جاهد لئلا يقذفه على الناس كالسم عصارة المرارة. و لئلا يصرخ مهللا في وجوههم: انظروا .. أنا لا أخافكم. و لا أشعر إلا بقليل من الكره نحوكم. بل أحتقركم من أعمق أعماقي. لأنكم أغبياء لدرجة النتانة. لأنكم لا شيء و أنا كل شيء. و كأنه يهزأ بهم.

للقاتل ذوق ممتاز. كما أن له نهجا يسير عليه. لم ترتكب كل الجرائم بلإسلوب المتقن عينه فحسب. بل كشف اختياره لضحاياه عن ن��ات سرانية عميقة. و رغم أن ريشي لم يكتشف ما الذي يقدسه القاتل في ضحاياه. فهو لم يسلبهن أفضل ما فيهن. جمالهن و فورة شبابهن. أم أنه فعلها؟ على كل حال بدا له أن القاتل ليس هداما. مهما كانت الفكرة غريبة. إنما جامع تحف مهووس. و فكر ريشي. إذا تصور أحدهم الضحايا أجزاء من أس أسمى. و ليس مجرد أفراد. و صهر خصالهن الذكية في بوتقة الكمال الموحد. ستكون الصورة المركبة من قطع الموزاييك التي يجمعها. صورة الجمال المطلق. و لن يكون سحرها إنسانيا. بل سيكون إلاهيا.

جان بابتست غرينوي. المولود دون رائحة. في أنتن بقعة في العالم. المتحدر من القمامة وو الخراء و العفن. الناشيء دون حب. الحي دون روح إنسانية دافئة. المتشكل من العناد و طاقة القرف. الضئيل. القميء. الضالع. القبيح. المتحاشي. النذل في داخله و خارجه. بلغ لأن يحبه العالم أجمعين. من قال يحبه؟ بل يعشقه. يهواه. يؤلهه .. لقد خلق لنفسه هالة أشرق و أقوى أثرا مما لبشر من قبله. و لا يعود الفضل فيها على أحد. لا على أب. لا على أم. و لا على إله رحيم. إنما عليه هو. هو وحده. الحق أنه كان هو إله ذاته. إلها أروع من ذاك الذي ينتن برائحة البخور و يسكن الكنيسة. أمامه أسقف يرقص و يتوسل فرحا. أمامه أغنياء و سلاطين. سادة وسيدات فخورون يخشعون لمعجزته. و الشعب أجمع. بينه أباء و أمهات و إخوة ضحاياه يحتفلون على شرفه و بإسمه ماجنين معربدين. بإشارة منه سيكفرون بربهم و يعبدونه هو. غرينوي العظيم. نعم. إنه غرينوي العظيم. لقد حق الحق. إنه غرينوي العظيم كما كان في خيالاته آنذاك. إنه يحيا في هذه البرهة أعظم انتصارات حياته.

لكن قدرته ليست قادرة على شيء واحد. ليست قادرة على أن تجعله يشم نفسه. و ليرفعه عطره إلاها بين الناس. فما نفعه إن لم يشم ذاته و لم يعرف من هو. إنه يبصق على كل شيء. على العالم. على ذاته و على عطره.
Profile Image for Antje ❦.
131 reviews270 followers
May 26, 2023
RIP Oscar Wilde you would have loved this

To be honest, this is at the same time the most absurd and the most fascinating book I have read in my life. There's something about really graphic and visceral examples that sends across the strongest message.
I love the portrayal of human greed and power, such a unique approach to those subjects. AND THE WRITING, SO BEAUTIFUL, I'm honestly impressed.
If you love books that traumatize you to your core, read this!!!
Profile Image for Valeriu Gherghel.
Author 6 books1,443 followers
February 23, 2023
Totuși, totuși, cel mai afrodisiac parfum rămîne absența oricărui parfum.

În librăria din Podu Roș, prietenul DS m-a tras de mînecă și mi-a șoptit: „Să vii săptămîna viitoare. Primim o carte ieșită din comun”. Era în 1988. Cărțile se vindeau pe sub mînă, trebuia să ai „pile” pentru a prinde și a citi un roman bun. Așa am cumpărat Parfumul. Se tipărise în colecția „Globus” a Editurii Univers.

Am găsit în acest roman povestea unui nefericit și am înțeles că o înzestrare ieșită din comun (simțul mirosului, în cazul lui Jean-Baptiste Grenouille) îl poate transforma pe individ într-un monstru. Funes al lui Borges e stăpînit de văz, nu poate uita nici o nuanță de verde, nici o nuanță de roșu. Grenouille nu uită nici o nuanță a unui miros, poate descompune un parfum în toate elementele alcătuitoare. Nici unul dintre aceste ilustre personaje nu e în stare să gîndească abstract. Sînt lipsiți de rațiune și se situează în afara oricărei morale.

Cînd ucide, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille nu intenționează neapărat să ia un suflet, el soarbe însăși mireasma victimei. Pentru el, frumosul absolut nu are nici o legătură cu văzul („frumusețea stă în ochi”, credea David Hume). Pentru el, frumosul absolut e un miros sau un mănunchi de mirosuri. Și, deci, ar putea afirma, dacă ar fi capabil de gîndire abstractă (și nu e), că frumusețea stă în nări. Iată:

„O sută de mii de miresme îi păreau mai puţin preţioase decît acel parfum. Era principiul cel mai înalt, al cărui model se cuvenea să le ordoneze pe toate celelalte. Era frumuseţea pură. Lui Grenouille îi era limpede că viaţa sa nu mai putea să aibă vreun sens dacă nu va poseda acel parfum. Trebuia să-l cunoască pînă în cel mai mic amănunt, pînă la ultima, cea mai suavă înrămurire; doar amintirea lui, oricît de complexă, nu-i ajungea. Voia să apese apoteoticul parfum ca pe o pecete asupra învîrtejirii sufletului său negru” (pp.39-40).

P. S. În Bestsellers, John Sutherlend menționează că Parfumul e ultima carte a unui prozator german care a intrat în topurile americane.

P. P.S. Oare ce au spus filosofii despre miros? Ofer numai un exemplu. Pentru Immanuel Kant, care va admira, totuşi, aroma amăruie a cafelei, mirosul este mai degrabă nociv și antisocial: „Cel care îşi scoate din buzunar batista înmuiată în parfum le impune tuturor celor din preajmă mirosul lui preferat, în pofida voinţei lor, obligîndu-i astfel să se desfete cu el, dacă vor să mai respire. Acesta este şi motivul pentru care obiceiul nici nu mai este la modă”. În opinia gînditorului german, parfumul este, de cele mai multe ori, o modalitate de a-ți impune subtil-agresiv prezența. Într-o încăpere - mai e nevoie să spun? -, atmosfera se cuvine a fi inodoră. Pentru filosofi, cel mai prețuit miros rămîne, așadar, absența lui...
Profile Image for Ted.
191 reviews91 followers
May 29, 2008
I'd like to make something very clear with my review of this book. I normally don't go overboard with the whole "the movie vs. the book" argument because I'm not interested in making people's decisions for them, even though I'm strongly opinionated about the subject. But this is a case where I have to speak out. Süskind has created here a work of literary art in prose, and I take that seriously. I admire lots of books but I wouldn't say this about any old novel. The movie "Perfume" makes an utter mockery of this artwork, its incredible language (even in translation) and its profoundly disturbing character. The movie is to this book what a smudge of dirt is to a brilliant, glowing star. The movie not only fails to capture the depth and profundity of the prose but also of its unique darkness and unsettling moral bleakness. "Perfume"'s central character (in many ways, its only character) is far beyond some simplistic "good" or "evil." Rather, he is utterly disconnected from humanity. He lacks a fundamental concept of agency in other people, who are essentially conveyors or producers of smells and nothing more. He kills, not with any idea of transgression, but simply as he would break an object in order to smell it. In this he is far more terrifying than any serial killer or other contrived "evil" character, and the story of his incredible and absurd life leaves one with a deep darkness that takes a long time to dissipate after the novel is closed and shelved or passed on.

The movie, as I saw it, conveyed none of this existentially disturbing character, but merely his salient features; i.e., his uncanny ability to smell and dissect smells, and even then can't possibly describe what he senses with the book's vividness and detail. In short, viewers are left with a paltry, thin gruel that denigrates and shames the original book and its author.
Profile Image for Michael Fierce.
333 reviews23 followers
December 27, 2015


Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer is simply one of the greatest horror novels ever written.

Taking place in 18th century, France, it begins with an infant born with one difference from the rest of the world: Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with the ability to smell anything and everything in the world around him.

Although not a novel of the supernatural as commonly defined, in a sense, it is, because his ability can only be defined as that of supernature.

While not being the most prolific author, Patrick Süskind, has made his permanent mark not only in horror and gothic fiction, but in the circles of high literature, as well.

More a modern descendant of Edgar Allan Poe or Robert Louis Stevenson and other great gothic writers of that period than to most writers working today, Perfume, is a unique, fresh, story of mystery, suspense, and madness.

For those of you tired of books you can see right through, anticipating where the storyline is going and how it's going to end, this is the book for you.

I can't imagine anyone figuring out the ending, or even trying to, because you wil be so caught up in the book, you will savour every page and description until the end.

It's really hard to find good modern gothic fiction, horror or otherwise, that's done with a literate touch from someone that conveys the feeling of actually being there inside a rich, period piece setting.

A book no one with literate reading interests should miss.

Though different, it will appeal to readers of newer masters of horror; Thomas Ligotti, Patrick McGrath, Laird Barron, and Matt Cardin.

And to older masters; Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Arthur Machen, M.R. James, Edith Wharton, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Sheridan Le Fanu, and Bram Stoker.

* I do like the cover to the more modern version of this book but, if you are a true book connoisseur like me, track down the 1987 September edition, 1st paperback printing by Pocket Books with the shiny red embossed lettering on a red & black book. It's just fantastic and reminds me of a combination of the artwork for the film, Amadeus (1984), the infamous murderer, Jack The Ripper, and to The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde.




My highest of all recommendations!!!!!
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,255 reviews2,299 followers
January 21, 2016
There are some books which can be called unique. They may be good, bad or indifferent: but their authors strike out from the trodden paths of narrative themes and structure to explore totally new vistas, so that the product becomes unique. Perfume by Patrick Suskind is such a book.

Jean Baptiste Grenouille is "an abominable and gifted personage, in an era which was not lacking in abominable and gifted personages". Born a bastard in the stinking heart of the city of Paris in the eighteenth century under a gutting table, the first cry he utters sends his mother to the scaffold for abandoning an infant. Grenouille grows up by sucking many wet nurses dry, survives the horrendous childhood of an orphan in an age without mercy, and grows up to become a successful perfumer. For this is his unique gift: the child who does not emit any smell himself is blessed with extraordinary olfactory capabilities, which allows him to recognise, separate and catalogue in his mind all the different odours he comes into contact with.

But simple identification is not enough for Jean. He is driven by the insatiable urge to possess any smell he likes for himself; he will move heaven and earth to extract it from its origin, make a perfume out of it and keep it with him. He is not bothered that the object which originates the smell will be destroyed in the process of extraction: he is a "smell-vampire". And like a vampire, it is the smell of virgins which drives him wild. Ultimately, Grenouille's gift and single-minded obsession proves to be the cause of both his uplift and undoing...

Suskind has written a gripping novel which will hook and pull the reader in from the first sentence onwards. However, this is not a simple horror story or thriller: it has got layers of meaning hidden beneath one another which will come out on careful reading.

Jean Baptiste Grenouille is a masterly creation. His insatiable thirst for smells makes him a truly terrifying "collector": one who cannot enjoy his passion the normal way, but must possess the object of his desire (I was reminded of Frederick Clegg in John Fowles' "The Collector") completely. The fact that he lacks a characteristic odour himself enhances his vampiric nature. Also, all the people who profit from him come to a grisly end, like the poor misguided souls who make a pact with the devil.

Joseph Campbell has made the slogan "Follow your bliss" very popular - but how to know whether your bliss is good or bad? I have always wondered about the concept of "negative bliss". Both Gandhi and Hitler could have been said to be following their bliss in different ways. While reading this novel, I was struck by the realisation that the difference is in one's attitude. If one is doing it because one cannot be doing anything else - following one's karma, if you want to put it that way - then it is bliss. But if one is driven by an insatiable need which feeds on itself, one ends up being a vampire. Ultimately, it consumes oneself.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥.
547 reviews34.7k followers
July 31, 2017
To be entirely honest I still haven't decided whether I loved the book or hated it. XD I loved the writing style and the idea behind it but at the same time I was disgusted by the vivid pictures it provoked. It was way too easy to get lost in the "Perfume" and I swear I could literally smell the book while I read it. *lol*

All things considered it actually was a very good read and I can recommend it to everyone who's into haunting stories.

I read that book a while ago and I'm still thinking about it! So yeah I guess Patrick Süskind did an amazing job! ;-)
Profile Image for فايز غازي Fayez Ghazi .
Author 2 books3,911 followers
July 19, 2023
- فكرة الرواية مبتكرة وشيطانية.. القتل من اجل الرائحة لتحويلها عطراً!!!

- الترجمة سيئة جداً وهناك العديد من الاخطاء، لغوياً واملائياً.

- النهاية

- اما الرمزية من القصة وخاصة في النهاية فهي إبداع كامل.
Profile Image for Manny.
Author 30 books14k followers
August 2, 2017
"So what did you think of it?" she asked. "I've been trying to write something, but all I can come up with is that it's a weird story about a guy who has an unusually good sense of smell."

She stopped, struck by a thought. "Wait a minute. You've got a pretty acute sense of smell yourself. I've noticed, don't try to deny it. That thing with the toaster. Right?"

He was cornered, and vaguely assented, hoping she would drop the subject. But she persisted.

"So you must have read it too. What did you think?"

"Well," he said reluctantly after a while, "You can't really describe it with words. That's the point. But you could describe it as... as a smell."

"As a smell?"

"You'd actually have to create the smell," he said. "I thought about it quite a lot."

"What would it smell like?" she asked, amused. "Beautiful young virgins?"

"A bit," he said. "But that isn't the dominant note."

"What is, then?"

He hesitated. It sounded so absurd. "Epistemology," he said after a long pause. "And moral philosophy. You know. Kant."

"It smells of Kant?" she asked. "But what does Kant smell like? I wouldn't have thought he had a smell."

"Oh, he does!" he said. She had never seen him so animated. "And you can extract it. Süskind is absolutely right. Grease-soaked linen, that's the way to do it. Enfleurage. Distillation. People who are reading Kant have a special aroma."

"But don't they have to be dead for you to be able to get it?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"That is the main problem," he replied. He looked at her, and now all the excitement was gone. "It's a problem," he repeated. "But it's one you can solve. If you're persistent."

She was staring at him as though she had never seen him before. What was he doing? He had already told her far too much.

"Just kidding," he said, and he moved the corners of his mouth upward as he had learned to do. "Just kidding. Actually, I can sum it up in a couple of words. People stink."
Profile Image for Annemarie.
250 reviews698 followers
November 27, 2017
It's hard for me to put into words how much I loved this story. The pacing, the characters, the overall plot - everything was perfection. However, the most amazing thing for me was the writing style. So much eloquence and beauty, without ever being over the top. I've seen some people complaining about how "simple" some of the heavy plot points were treated. I do understand and respect those opinions, but I especially liked that aspect.
Yes, this is a book about a murderer, but it isn't a crime novel. It's much more than that. To me, it was a wonderful exploration of a man I loved to hate and hated to love.
Profile Image for Fernando.
684 reviews1,127 followers
November 28, 2017
Pero qué novela tan interesante ha escrito Patrick Süskind… Este es otro de esos libros que yo veía en los estantes de la librería, o sobre el cual, muchos lectores reseñaban pero que no había tenido yo la oportunidad de leer.
Es verdaderamente original y sorprendente la manera en que Süskind crea el personaje de Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. Sencillamente brillante.
Han existido en la literatura famosos asesinos (creo que Raskólnikov de "Crimen y castigo" es uno de los más emblemáticos), pero en el caso del personaje principal de "El perfume" lo que sobresale es casualmente su sorprendente naturaleza y originalidad.
El hecho de que Grenouille haya nacido sin ningún tipo de olor personal y un sentido del olfato tan perfecto, a punto tal que hasta él mismo sabe que sólo puede aprovecharlo para asesinar, le da todo el sentido a la trama del libro para que los sucesos de su vida sean lo más importante.
El olfato de Grenouille le permite distinguir todo tipo de olores, hedores, fragancias, tufos, aromas, emanaciones, vahos, esencias y por supuesto, perfumes. Nada escapa a su olfato, un sentido que para muchos es el menos importante de los cinco que poseemos en el cuerpo humano.
Desde su infancia, Jean-Baptiste es alguien que no tiene madre, que no siente dolor ni sentimiento de amor alguno. Con el correr de los años se transformará en un ser insensible y desarrollará, a partir de su peculiar habilidad una extraña forma de comportamiento que lo llevará a cometer asesinatos, siempre hacia jóvenes y bellas muchachas virginales.
Otro aspecto para destacar es la manera en la que está narrado el libro y hay que felicitar a Süskind por ello. La historia está ambientada en la Francia del siglo XVIII y Süskind la relata como un aplomado escritor del siglo XIX. Es excelente su dominio de la narrativa, ya que esto se asocia a lo original del personaje y porque además mantiene el suspense de lo que pasa con Grenouille. Considero también que las primeras quince páginas son atrapantes y hacia el intermedio del libro, el autor logra que el lector no pueda desprenderse de la lectura.
Tal vez el momento más chato de la historia es cuando Süskind narra los siete años en que Grenuille se recluye en la montaña de Auvernia, pero rápidamente la historia vuelve a tener un vivo interés, precisamente a partir de que vuelve a cometer tantos asesinatos, y al llegar a esta parte es clave el hecho de haber leído sobre sus andanzas en la perfumería de Giuseppe Baldini, de sus forzados trabajos con el curtidor Grimal, de su primera víctima, la muchacha pelirroja de Rue de Marais, o de sus estancia durante la niñez en la casa de madame Gaillard quien insólitamente carece de todo olfato.
Debo reconocer que lo que más me descolocó fue precisamente el final del libro. Para que se me entienda: los lectores en su mayoría leemos ficción y nos acostumbramos a todo tipo de historias fantásticas, pero en el caso del final de esta novela, realmente me esperaba otra cosa. A mi entender es demasiado inverosímil y el abrupto cambio sepulta un poco la intriga a la que me sometía en las primeras dos partes de la novela.
Y nuevamente, en la cuarta parte, que se compone de un solo capítulo creo que Süskind acelera el final de una manera casi abrupta (y también, demasiado inverosímil), contrastando con las extensísimas descripciones de las características tanto de la personalidad de Grenouille como de todos los sucesos que le ocurren en los distintos lugares que vive.
Estoy dudando en calificar a "El perfume" con tres o cuatro estrellas, pero me voy a inclinar por las cuatro por el hecho de que me mantuvo muy intrigado en un 85% de la historia y porque además, cuesta mucho encontrar libros sobre asesinos tan pero tan originales como Jean-Baptiste Grenouille.
Profile Image for Ahmed Ibrahim.
1,197 reviews1,641 followers
April 25, 2017
" فكيف تمنى النفس بالخلاص من السفاح ؟ إنه أغشم من الطاعون، يمكن الهرب من الطاعون لكن لا يمكن الهرب من هذا المجرم "

أى جنونٍ هذا ؟ كيف خطرت هذه الفكرة فى بال الكاتب .. ماذا فعل ليخرج لنا هذه الرواية ؟
رواية غريبة وفكرة مبتكرة ومبهرة، وهى تقريباً متكاملة على الجانب الادبى .

جان باتيست غرينوي، صاحب أدق أنف فى العالم، الفتى الذى إستطاع بأنفه إحصاء كل الروائح -والروائح التى لا نعرف لها نحن رائحة- لكنه ولد وعاش بدون رائحة ويظل يسعى أن يجعل لنفسه رائحة تجعل الناس يحبوه لدرجة العبادة وفى طريقة لعمل هذا العطر يستحل لنفسه قتل الكثيرين .

الحقيقة أنك تستطيع التخلى عن عينيك عند قرائتها، فهى ستعرف طريقها الى أنفك، فقط دعها تتغلغل إلى أعماقك وأستمتع .

Profile Image for A..
351 reviews48 followers
October 21, 2021
El viaje comienza de inmediato, a una ciudad convulsionada, contradictoria, plagada de hedores y perfumes. Como claroscuros, pero odoríferos. Imposible no recorrerla, no escudriñarla con la nariz arrugada y no imaginar a sus habitantes. Estamos ahí como por arte de magia. Cortesía de un autor extraordinario.
El inodoro Grenuille, además de inodoro (!), es abandónico, marginal y repulsivo. Y tiene un olfato prodigioso. Sus "cualidades" no nos moverán a misericordia pero, sorprendentemente, tampoco a un odio visceral. Advertimos que no tuvo muchas oportunidades, más allá de su malvada naturaleza. Y es en esa naturaleza cruel, en la soledad infinita de este ser y en la aún más cruel reacción de sus congéneres, donde reside lo provocativo de esta asombrosa novela.
Una novela de contrastes, con toques de macabra sensualidad y humor, donde vale la pena meter la nariz (Ejem, sí, ya termino..)
La triste historia de Grenuille, el hombre que no amaba a nadie y solo amaba a la fragancia.
Profile Image for Beatriz.
834 reviews719 followers
October 27, 2020
Lo primero que quiero comentar es que este libro no es lo que yo esperaba. Pensé que sería un thriller trepidante, pero me encontré con un relato lento, que se centra en desgranar la psique del personaje principal y en narrar las circunstancias que lo acompañaron durante toda su vida, para que el lector pueda comprender su forma de pensar, actuar y ver el mundo. La verdad, también me gustan mucho ese tipo de libros, pero en el caso de El Perfume, el autor utiliza un estilo en exceso reiterativo, se detiene cada página a enumerar cosas sin importancia, alarga capítulos de forma absolutamente innecesaria y, al final, se transformó en una lectura muy tediosa, que acabé a pura fuerza de voluntad y que no me mantuvo enganchada en ningún momento; ni siquiera en aquellas partes por las que es más conocida esta obra y que ocupan menos del último tercio del libro.

No niego que el argumento es en extremo original y muchos aspectos te invitan a una reflexión bastante profunda, por lo que le doy las dos estrellas. Pero para mí la lectura tiene que ser una experiencia placentera y esta definitivamente no lo fue.

Reto #44 PopSugar 2017: Un libro que tenga lugar a lo largo de la vida de un personaje
Displaying 1 - 30 of 22,803 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.