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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer | Book Review (Goodreads)

About the book:

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.


Classic, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror (not exactly)


Patrick Süskind

** spoiler alert **

Spoilers of the story within this post. These are my thoughts about the novel.


04/14/22 Started Reading

I figured I wanted to start reading this because my friend recommended it.

04/16/22 11:24 PM 10%

I am so confused. I've never seen paragraphs so long in a book before but I guess that's a classic for you.

04/19/22 11:49 PM 35%

I never understood why I root for the sickos. But this one has really creeped me out.

04/20/22 8:36 AM 67%

It's always about the odor. It's all he's living for really. I've never seen a book describing scents in so much detail before.

04/21/22 6:37 PM 100%

Whew finally finished!

Now onto my thoughts.


The book is creepy. Bloody creepy. In no way have I ever read a book describe a perfume or an odor for that matter, with such highly, sophisticated adjectives, to which some I have never even heard of before, nor have I read paragraphs- yes paragraphs solely dedicated to describing a scent with ingredients specifically detailed to the point that one would think I, as the reader, is Grenouille himself.

This is the first time I've read a book that isn't very rich in dialogue, other than the very first couple of pages of Pride and Prejudice, I surprisingly found myself reading through it. Another scene creeped me out. His first kill. It was detailed but not focused in a sexualized way. It was directing more of the scent. It's not like describing a woman bare is an automated representation of intimacy or abuse. This book allowed mention of graphic description of a young woman's beauty but not in a way to fantasize about her, but to direct the readers to the scent these women possess. Weird. Creepy. Freaky. Eerie. Spooky. I don't have words to describe, but to sum it up, I find it a positive thing that the author took on a unique direction for this story.

There are some chapters that really bore me, some chapters that dragged and stretched the story, but just a little push and I finished the bloody book.

The death scenes aren't as dramatic or as cinematic or as "if this character dies, it's a plot twist or a big triggering-turning event that will continue to push the story somewhere" vibe. It's not the most gruesome death I've read, but the way it was worded, the way it just flowed like it was the most normal way to die but make it sound tragic and realistic at the same time. I don't pity them because they are greedy (somehow) but surely reading it made me feel goosebumps on my arms.




I thought for sure his end after murdering those girls would be the grand punishment prepared to him like how every other story ends really. I thought it'd be predictable like that but the author and Grenouille proved me wrong. By some miracle, the power of the new scent he's been building, was so powerful that he turned the mass into lustful messes. For someone who lacked the emotion to care for anything but his pursuit for that scent, I didn't think he'd have the conscience to actually be convicted of this. That he'd walk away when he could live as a king, putting everyone under his control.

The final chapter declared the Grenouille's tragic end and as gruesome as it was, I'm glad the book didn't end with him getting away with it. There are so many books and movies today that emphasizes on stalker protagonists, serial killer MC's with a dark twisted sense of justice and it makes it okay that they get away with it because they are handsome or hot as fire. But Perfume's story is almost more realistic than that. Murderers aren't as handsome as the portrayers and in a way, they look at the world differently.

I'm one of the readers who roots for the bad guys mostly. Like how I didn't want Dexter Moser caught, or Joe Goldberg not arrested or Hannah McKay (yeah not a book) escaping to Argentina, etc. It's a thing. Yes. Bad guys get away. And we root for them because they're the MC. But not Grenouille. I'm content with him not getting away in the end even if partly I rooted for him to have a better end.

I wouldn't say I'd read another book like this again. Probably something as dark it's okay, but something full of paragraphs and less dialogues is my weakness. I wouldn't invest much to read such. Anyways, it was a good read.

Goodreads review: click here

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