Author: Patrick Suskind
Page Count/Review Word Count: 268
Perfume is hailed as something as a masterpiece, and I can kind of see why. It’s a long old read that often uses complex language, but it also has the feel of a much older book and so that could well be why. But really, that doesn’t matter – it’s a pleasure to read from start to finish, and once you get into the story you’ll find it hard to put down.
From a plot point of view, it’s “the story of a murderer”, a man who has a superb sense of smell but no physical scent of his own. It opens up all sorts of interesting questions, and it was particularly fascinating to see how Suskind was able to re-imagine the world to describe its smells from his protagonist’s point of view.
As for the protagonist himself – well, he’s an interesting chap. You could hardly call him relatable, and he’s not even an antihero – the bad guy you love to hate. He’s just a bad guy, and he could never have been anything else after the way that he entered the world. We see what he’s thinking as he carries out his murders and while his own reasoning may make sense to us, it’s still not something that we can exactly relate to.
But that’s part of the beauty of this book. It subverts your expectations and manages to fascinate you whether you want it to or not. It’s just one of those books that every serious reader should pick up.