Jean-Baptiste Grenouille is born with an absolute sense of smell. He apprentices himself to a prominent perfumer who teaches him the ancient art of mixing precious oils and herbs. But Grenouille becomes obsessed with creating the "ultimate perfume" - the scent of a beautiful young virgin.
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.
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 story will be told here. His name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille,
and if his name-in contrast to the names of other gifted abominations, de
Sade's, for instance, or Saint-Just's, Fouch?'s, Bonaparte's, etc.-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, to wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were
restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm
In the period of which we speak, there reigned in the cities a stench barely conceivable to us modern men and women. The streets stank of manure, the courtyards of urine, the stairwells stank of moldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled ...
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