It's a stormy Saturday here in Manila as I type this. I was supposed to go to a book club meeting for this book but the weather is absolutely horrible and my house is slowly flooding because of the storm, I might as well just post my insights on the book as I join in an online discussion instead of a real-life one. *sigh*
Anyway, Perfume is a novel that was originally written in Germany by author Patrick Suskind. It is set in France, in the 18th century. A young boy was born with an extraordinary sense of scent. His mother, a young woman selling fish at the market, had tried to kill him, being her fifth child [none of her other children had managed to make it], by abandoning her in the fish guts after she gave birth to her.
Unfortunately, Grenouille cried, making the buyers wonder where the crying was coming from, saw that Grenouille's mother tried to kill him, and thus ended up being hanged to death by trying to abandon her baby.
Grenouille as an orphan was then sent to different nurse-maids, all of which tried to get rid of him because he was drinking more milk than the usual baby, and for some reason, Grenouille had a power to make people uneasy around him. He eventually ended up at an orphanage, and when he was old enough, was sent to a tannery.
Whilst in the orphanage, he realized of his extraordinary gift, and one day, as he was working in the tannery, he began to smell new things in the streets of France. Until a chance encounter with a virgin ended up with him trying to preserve scents, as the virgin's scent was powerful.
Grenouille learned that he had no scent of his own, so he wanted to create the most perfect scent, and decided he should become a perfumer's apprentice to learn the secrets of the trade. From a perfumer, he had learned that the ultimate perfume should have 25 notes [13 notes in the movie version], killing virgin women and eventually concocting a scent that could move the world.
Naturally Grenouille got caught. But he used his ultimate perfume to sway the minds of the people who judged him to think that he was innocent, freeing him. Eventually he went back to his native Paris, where he was eaten alive when he poured all the perfume in him. Errr. Eww.
I've seen the movie and it remained loyal to the book, it did have very slight differences but nevertheless it was true to form.
The book was quite graphic and gruesome. The movie was quite subdued & interesting [then again I saw the movie at a cable channel so they must have cut out all of the gruesome parts]. The guy playing Grenouille is quite cute!
As part of a question in the book club if Grenouille had a hump --> from what I know, Grenouille did not really have a hump, he always stooped and has a bad limp so it may have the impression that he has a hump?
Good book. I loved the historical aspect of it [me being very partial to historical fiction], and the very detailed descriptions of the surroundings in 18th century France.
I'd give it a 4/5 rating!
My copy was bought during the Fully Booked Sale. Quite a pricey book but then again its historical fiction as well, so worth an investment?