I read this book first in 2018 and the other day while I doing some random chores I thought about the protagonist- Grenouille. I realized I hadn’t written a review so here it is now.
I like to believe that sometimes we read the right book at the right time and place. These books become our favorites. And then we might read a good book but it isn’t the right time nor place. While that is unfortunate, hopefully, if we’re lucky those books might reappear down the line.
Perfume was a good book that showed up at the right time for me and became a favorite. It is a story about a peculiar boy named Grenouille, born with a powerful gift- the sense of smell. He studied and mastered the ancient art of creating scents and perfumes. He grows dissatisfied and is driven to capture scents of objects, creatures, and ultimately to create the most perfect smelling perfume the world has ever known.
The story is dark and Grenouille’s actions make him an abhorrent character. Yet the author allows the reader to sympathize with Grenouille’s situation. The odds are rarely in Grenouille’s favor, yet he perseveres to overcome and achieve his goal. Despite the nature of his goal the sheer tenacity to persevere no matter what is remarkable, and something we can relate to. Grenouille achieves his goal only to end up feeling dissatisfied once again. Again we can relate to Grenouille’s situation.
The story is boldly freakish and the writing is vivid. The author has a way of describing smells with words that is almost tangible. And he doesn’t shy away from gruesome detail. It is a celebration of beauty and of ugliness. It is more than just a murder story. It is the exploration of a man I loved to hate and hated to love.