Perfume | Patrick Süskind | Book Review

Spoiler Free Review

Seeking books from different countries has been super rewarding. This book is simply a living proof of that! Perfume is an absolute masterpiece written by Patrick Süskind which I read as a book written by an author from Germany in my Project Cross Borders where I am reading one book from every country in the world!

Title: Perfume
Author: Patrick Süskind
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Horror/ Thriller
Pages: 309
Rating: 5/5
Links: Goodreads | Amazon
Image Credits: Goodreads

My Thoughts

This is a story about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille who has an extraordinary sense of smell who goes on to become one of the best perfumers in France. He then finds bliss in the aroma of young womanhood, found in virgin girls and goes on a quest to acquire the scents to make the most powerful perfume.

I expected the book to be good! But not, this good! I expected it to be gory, but it wasn’t. I did not expect it to be horrific, creepy, eerie and yet, addictive like Grenouille’s passion towards scents. Whatever I expected could be chucked out of the window.

I just cannot fathom how Patrick Suskind was able to write an entire book describing scents! And make a story out of it! And make the story un-put-downable!

This is one book I intend to read not like an audience, but as an editor! This book definitely will prove to be useful to me to learn describing things with the right balance.

Oh my! This is book is an example of everything done right! The translation was perfect and the translator needs a special mention for writing this book beautifully. This would’ve been a translator’s Everest! I simply can’t imagine how splendid this book would’ve been German.

The descriptions were the essence of this book (get the pun?). Describing 18th century France via scents and the emotions evoked by scents and the lack thereof is something this book does a great job!

The pace is good. In the middle, you do feel it to drag and not understand the direction the story is moving, yet things come in place in the ending. This book is full of surprises to the ending. And trust me, you wouldn’t expect the ending in your life!

What I really liked about the book: I loved how the author described his world through Grenouille’s nose, like an essay in 300 pages! I loved the unexpected endings. I loved the amazing, fluid translation. I loved how this book horrified me and took a grip over my emotions for an entire day, and even now! The aftertaste is strong! I like how I can learn from this book! And I look forward to re-reading it and would like to experience it knowing how the book ends.

What I didn’t like about the book: Just the middle portions of the book, where the story seems like it was losing track and felt unnecessary. But, I guess that was what helped humanise Grenouille! (Well, this is all I can say without giving out spoilers).

My Recommendation

This book perhaps needs a little courage to read. And this is definitely not for children.

This is an absolute must read which you shouldn’t miss out on though. The book is totally worth it!

I Would Rate it:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

With that,
More Power to you!


If you were a perfumer, what kind of fusion of scents would you wish to make?

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3 thoughts on “Perfume | Patrick Süskind | Book Review

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