Thursday, 6 March 2014

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer: A Review

'In eighteenth-century France there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name has been forgotten today, it is certainly not because Grenouille fell short of those more famous blackguards when it came to arrogance, misanthropy, immorality, or, more succinctly, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent . . .'

This book is a quick and easy, but somewhat odd read.  Having read the description I had quite high hopes for this book, I imagined tales of gruesome murder and other dastardly deeds, but I was left a little disappointed to say the least.

You know the kinds of books they make you read in school, the ones with deeper hidden meaning or an interesting writing style, well this seemed to be one of those for me.  Now, I am fully aware that these typical school books (I read Of Mice and Men) are indeed classics which I do think we all should read at some point in our lives, but this one felt a little like one of those ones that you are forced to read but don't really want to, i.e. Shakespeare or something along those lines.

The writing style in this book is indeed a bit different to the norm.  I'm not saying it's completely out there, but it's told very matter of factly, a bit like a fairy tale without all the niceties.  It's weird to read a story that seems to have absolutely no emotion whatsoever in, although given the character which this story centers around, this is the only way it really could be told.  I felt absolutely nothing for Grenouille throughout this book, not the least bit of sympathy or attachment, which, like I said is rather odd, because usually in any story, no matter who the character, or how bad they are, there is always the slight hint of a connection you feel, it's what makes you want to keep turning those pages to find out what happens to them.

In theory the story line to this book is quite interesting but it just seems to miss out quite a lot of detail, murders are committed in a sentence; I'm no sicko, but if I picked up a book based upon such a thing, I want to feel my skin crawl at the very thought of it (American Psycho anyone?).  Admittedly this is a short book, but I do think that it could have been so much better if just a little extra attention was paid to the finer details, I would have happily sat reading through a few extra pages for that.

It does seem like I'm being very pessimistic about this book, but I can see the opposite argument to all my points above, and considering the character and his personality I can understand why some points are skipped over quite quickly, as clearly to him, murder means nothing, it required no details, it was just something that needed to be done.

All in all this was an interesting read, and although I certainly wouldn't actively recommend this book I can say I will definitely remember it, even if it wasn't quite to my taste.

Have you read this book, what did you think?

I give this book a:

You can buy this book on Amazon here, or find out more about the author Patrick Suskind here.

p.s. I edit all my pics with PicMonkey.

Thank you, Thank you,


  1. I had to read this book when I was at university and I hated it, it was one of the worst books on that module!

    Lauren | Bits and Bobs xx

  2. I've never heard about this book~
    I'm so sorry that it disappointed you... ><

    ❤ ✿ VISIT MY BLOG ✿ ❤

  3. Interesting review. I don't think I could ever read a book that's written so emotionlessly. I'll think I'll give it a miss.


  4. I love this book as it is so different and emotionally detached, its completely a new experience for me as a reader.

    Blankets Of Roses

  5. Yeah, I see exactly what you mean about it being emotionally empty. I felt a bit flat when I read it; definitely not a pick-me-up book! xx

  6. Can I just say I love your bookends - amazing. Anyway back to the review - really great to read something honest - it's refreshing and good to know it did not make the grade.

    laura x

  7. I've had this book for ages but have only ever read the two chapters as I found it quite hard to read, like you say you don't acquire an emotional connection to aren't really interested in what happens to anyone. I thought it was a really interesting concept for a book but I just couldn't get through it. Lianne xx

  8. Well, I hate to be the voice of opposition, but this is one of my favourite books!! I think because it's not really about murder, it's about acquiring something through it? To the murderer, it's nothing of any consequence, so it's portrayed to the reader that way, as he views it, not as we would view it ourselves.

    I have no idea if that makes sense, but I love the way it's written, and I found it an engaging story and I liked the non-traditional ending. P x