For people could close their eyes to greatness, to horrors, to beauty, and their ears to melodies or deceiving words. But they couldn’t escape scent. For scent was a brother of breath.
Hello fellow geeks and or sailors! (I don’t know, I just make it up as I go)
I am here today to continue where I left off on April 30th… Has it been that long? It feels like it was yesterday.
So, onto my 2nd choice, from my literary top 5
Perfume: The story of a murderer.
And what a murderer it is… Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was born amongst fish guts, in the market, and left to die by his own mother (obviously… the sales weren’t going to make themselves!). But the little newborn had a thing or two to say about that and, with a powerful scream, he made himself noticed and, with that, also made his first victim: mommy dearest.
The story goes on to tell us how he was rejected by wet nurses because he was “odd”… he had no smell. Meaning, he exuded no odour, whatsoever…
As he grew up, his greatest passion was collecting fragrances for his personal collection, in his mind. Gifted with a wonderful and keen sense of smell, Jean-Baptiste could easily identify odours a normal person could not. But, despite this wonderful gift, he was always cast aside and shunned… That is, until he found out the art of a renowned perfumist and how that could help his cause…
I guess all of the books featured in my top 5 have somewhat of a grim feeling about them. I’m not complaining, though, I just came to that conclusion right now.
‘Perfume’, of course, is no different and every time I re-read it, I get the same fresh feeling of discovery I had, when I picked it up in 1998, when I was 13 years old and our youngest geek was born. The descriptive narrative that makes us flow from the fresh, vibrant fragrances to the reek that was sort of everywhere, in 18th century France, to those other smells you cannot even start to imagine what they are like, is just wonderful.
Of course, some parts can be truly disturbing to some readers, but this is a troubled mind we are talking about. A psycopath with one obsession that will stop at nothing to get what he wants.
You can use whatever words you’d like to describe this book: brilliant, unique, genious, one of a kind or as my mother would put it, nauseating, but you cannot deny it as Süskind’s masterpiece.
There is a movie as well, but I haven’t watched it. I don’t think it could be possible to translate those descriptions and vivid language into images. I guess I have a serious problem concerning adaptations and I always cast them aside, for fear of getting disappointed. And probably words sometimes do speak louder (to me) than moving pictures. But here’s the trailer, for your viewing pleasure.
Do enjoy and do pick it up. you won’t regret it.