Book: Perfume

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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Author: Patrick Süskind, John E. Woods
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Publisher: Vintage

An acclaimed bestseller and international sensation, Patrick Suskind’s classic novel provokes a terrifying examination of what happens when one man’s indulgence in his greatest passion-his sense of smell-leads to murder.

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 frest-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 brillance, Perfume is a hauntingly powerful tale of murder and sensual depravity.

Translated by John E. Woods

Related Works

Film:Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Tom Tykwer

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, orphaned as a newborn in the streets of Paris, is alone in the world. A peculiar child who rarely speaks, Grenouille is alienated from others but blessed with a remarkable gift. His sense of smell is so refined, so attuned to every blade of grass and blossoming flower, that it’s tragic when he’s sold into servitude to a tannery at the age of 13 and surrounded by the foul odors that accompany his labor. But there comes a day when Grenouille does an errand in town and discovers the object that will transform his life: perfume. Eager to learn the art of creating sophisticated fragrance, he apprentices himself to a once-renowned perfumer, and proves to be a savant whose almost mystical knowledge of scent surpasses anything that can be taught to him by masters of the craft.

Ironically, he was born with no scent of his own, a distinction which colors his undistinguished life. But Grenouille…[more]

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