Book 786 Patrick Suskind – Perfume: The Story of a Murderer


It’s weird on how a second reading can change your view of a novel, The last time I read Perfume was in 1999 and the only thing that stuck out was the first murder. Anyway I’m glad I read this again for it seems that a good chunk of the book has slipped out of my memory.


In my last post I said that Cormac McCarthy’s Judge was a foulsome literary creation, but after reading Perfume, I think I’ll say that Jean Baptiste Grenouille beats The Judge by miles. Not only does he kill but he suffers from delusions of grandeur and a morbid hatred of society.

Born in 18th century France, Grenouille is passed from household to household as he gives people the creeps. Eventually he is discovered to have an extraordinary sense of smell and all goes fine until he discovers the scent of a young woman. This drives him insane and he takes up the art of perfumery in order to cook up a scent that will enslave people just like the young woman’s smell did to him.

This leads to a killing spree in order for Grenouille to fulfill his aim and eventually through some clever plot twists that perfume plays a role in his rise and eventual fall.

Grotesque , with some brilliant scenes, I dare say that only Suskind has managed to evoke the spirit of Roald Dahl ; the same type of satire is also prevalent in Suskind and the addictive quality of Perfume is Dahlesque as well. Perfume is indeed one book is a must read.


Book 809 Patrick Suskind – The Pigeon


I read ‘The Pigeon’ back in 1999 . The sole reason why I picked up the book is because I detest the said bird of the title. It turns out that it’s a book I related to ( I immediately read Perfume after but that’s another blog post).

Jonathan Noel is a very routinely person. Every morning he gets up and then heads of to his job as a security guard for a bank. However one day he sees a pigeon in his appartement corridor and his life turns upside down.

Noel starts to question his existence, job, surroundings and his sordid past, where his wife left him. Although he is depicted as a simpleton he does get quite philosophical , the high point being a tramp defecating in front of him. As Noel finishes his shift and plans his future the pigeon disappears and life goes back to normal.

‘The Pigeon’ is a very witty look at the human psyche and how inner chaos can be caused by one chance event. The character of Jonathan Noel is excellent as his worldview is warped and humourous.  When I read this novella, I was working a very dull 9 to 5 job and  so I could definitely agree with Noel’s philosophies.

It’s funny that The Pigeon is overshadowed by Perfume as I think it’s equally great. Anyone out there agree with this?