PERFUME is considered a classic in Germany – which means I wanted to never-read and forever-read it since the beginning of time. (Or since the first time that I realized that this book existed.) Why never-read? Because I have the urge to not read a book when everybody hypes it up and talks about it. Why forever-read? Because I have the urge to read a book very badly when everyone else has already read it and I want to know what they are talking about. Dilemma.
Four years later, here we are: me, 19 years old, reading about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. (For the very first time.) I’m quite interested in what drives serial killers and why they do what they do, how they justify their actions to themselves and what their thought process is while/before/after killing innocent people and ruining someone elses life. (In Grenouilles case without second thoughts, doubts or a care in the world.) I have this weird desire to understand the things that I can’t comprehend.
Grenouille didn’t have the best life growing up. Let’s start with that. That’s a fact. He is also a terrible person. Also a fact. So does his horrible childhood excuse his behaviour at all? No. Big fat no. Like Jake Peralta said „Cool motive, still murder“. Let’s also start with that. That’s important to know while talking about this novel.
He was as tough as a resistant bacterium (…)
To know Grenouille you have to know a few things: he has no smell but has an amazing sense of smell. And: he is a sociopath and a psychopath. And a narcissist. But most importantly: because of his gifted nose he is extraordinary at creating perfumes.
Grenouille is a disgustingly fascinating human being. Mostly disgusting. He is a murderer (no spoiler there), a liar, a cheater and – quite often – blasphemous. He feels nothing – the only thing he’s passionate about is to capture the smell of innocence, the human essense of pureness. He’s obsessed with it. We’re gonna leave it at that with that part of the book. The rest you can see for yourself.
He devoured everything, everything, sucking it up into him.
Trigger Warning, though: murder, murder, canibalism, animal cruelty, orgy and other graphic scenes (sorry to spoil some things but maybe some people don’t want to read about stuff like that).
My favourite part about PERFUME were the moments of glory it had. Not scenes in particular but human behaviour that was described and put into words. Things about society, about humankind, the world. (There was also a moment that briefly touched the subject of racism.)
— their unwillingness to be satisfied with anything in this world —
AT LAST: Perfume is short, insightful, sometimes disturbing, interesting and creepy. It was very atmospheric and quite crazy at times. The writing was alright (compliment), the journey sometimes quite dull and slow but mostly the right pace (somehow compliment and negative aspect at the same time). Overall: pretty enjoyable. (But I kind of sometimes expected more? Maybe.) (Nevertheless, alright. Good.)
Which classics can you recommend? <333