The Story of a Murderer

Patrick Süskind
Translated from the German by John E. Woods
Vintage International, Vintage Books, A Division of Random House, Inc, 2001 (1986)

So here’s the thing with this book: our humom read way back in the 1980’s and she liked it. Well, times have changed and so has our humom. I had to put the book down after the protagonist killed the little girl. Mom took up reading it for me but she finally had to put the book down when he killed some cats and a puppy (and along with other creatures). Enough, said we, enough.  This book is going back to the thrift store. We will give you a brief overview of the book because we really just want it out of our brain and it goes without saying, but we are saying it anyway, the book does not fair well on the paws meter.

Main Character:

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille: born into squalor in 18th century Paris, he was a child that wasn’t wanted from the beginning – why? – no one could say specifically but in truth he was born with no scent. He had no smell at all which freaked other people out. He grew up with an extremely sensitive ability to smell and ultimately trains in the art of perfumery. He sets his sites on creating the ultimate fragrance and will stop at nothing to obtain it. And that’s all we can really say without rehashing the awful stuff he did.

This book could rightly be in the genre of ‘horror’. The book is brilliantly imagined – I think the reason it stuck in mom’s head for so long was that the story is so original. I won’t say anything more about it – in case you want to read it. The deaths mentioned above are only the beginning of Jean-Baptiste’s ‘experiments’.

The author writes the book in a narrative style, allowing the reader to look at the story from both the outside as an observer and inside the character’s thoughts.  He  captures the essence of what life must have been like in the 1700’s and it’s not pretty. In fact, it’s really stinky!!

So what to rate a book that has such a creative and fascinating plot-line but the protagonist is a monster? We’ll give the book a 2 paw rating. If you like the horror genre, you will love this book. If you don’t, please steer clear!!

cropped-selfie-092015dd.jpgReviewer: Toby

... die Geschichte eines Mörders), do escritor alemão Patrick Süskind Patrick Süskind

Süskind lives as a recluse in Munich, in Seeheim (Lake Starnberg), and in France. The public knows little about Süskind. He has withdrawn from the literary scene in Germany and never grants interviews or allows photos. {from Wikipedia – click on his name above for full article}

There’s a movie – won’t be seeing it –

Other covers:


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