Perfume: The Story of a Murderer …a review

I had not heard of this book, not even of the German author Patrick Suskind. V saw the movie and strongly recommended the book to me because he knows I relate to people, places, and a lot of other things by their smells. The story focuses on Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a perfume apprentice in 18th century France who, born with no body scent himself, begins to stalk and murder virgins in search of ‘the perfect scent’, which he finds in a young woman named Laura, whom his acute sense of smell finds in a secluded private garden in Grasse. Jean is not normal, he does not find anything weird or out of place about trailing each and everything by its smell.
This condition is a classic case of synaesthesia, where one form of sensory stimulus (here, sight or taste) is perceived as another (smell). Through the course of the novel, the reader is taken on a journey of this man’s life and his travels. I particularly liked the bit where he serves as a very talented perfume-maker’s apprentice. The man goes barmy because Jean can whip up new scents without any respect for process or protocol. Now, since I like working like that and I also relate to scents, I related a lot to this psychopath :-O Certainly not good, I agree, but a very absorbing tale; hence justified.
Quote: “Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. 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.”

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