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Perfume: The Story of Murder

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9780394550848: Perfume: The Story of Murder
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The year is 1738; the place, Paris. A baby is born under a fish-monger's bloody table in a marketplace, and abandoned. Orphaned, passed over to the monks as a charity case, already there is something in the aura of the tiny infant that is unsettling. No one will look after him; he is somehow too demanding, and, even more disturbing, something is missing: as his wet nurse tries to explain, he doesn't smell the way a baby should smell; indeed, he has no scent at all.

Slowly, as we watch Jean-Baptiste Grenouille cling stubbornly to life, we begin to realize that a monster is growing before our eyes. With mounting unease, yet hypnotized, we see him explore his powers and their effect on the world around him. For this dark and sinister boy who has no smell himself possesses an absolute sense of smell, and with it he can read the world to discover the hidden truths that elude ordinary men. He can smell the very composition of objects, and their history, and where they have been, he has no need of the light, and darkness is not dark to him, because nothing can mask the odors of the universe.

As he leaves childhood behind and comes to understand his terrible uniqueness, his obsession becomes the quest to identify, and then to isolate, the most perfect scent of all, the scent of life itself.

At first, he hones his powers, learning the ancient arts of perfume-making until the exquisite fragrances he creates are the rage of Paris, and indeed Europe. Then, secure in his mastery of these means to an end, he withdraws into a strange and agonized solitude, waiting, dreaming, until the morning when he wakes, ready to embark on his monstrous quest: to find and extract from the most perfect living creatures--the most beautiful young virgins in the land-- that ultimate perfume which alone can make him, too, fully human. As his trail leads him, at an ever-quickening pace, from his savage exile to the heart of the country and then back to Paris, we are caught up in a rising storm of terror and mortal sensual conquest until the frenzy of his final triumph explodes in all its horrifying consequences.

Told with dazzling narrative brilliance and the haunting power of a grown-up fairy tale, Perfume is one of the most remarkable novels of the last fifty years.

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Review:

Praise for PERFUME

"A fable of criminal genius . . . Remarkable."
--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"A supremely accomplished work of art, marvelously crafted and enjoyable, and rich in historical detail."
--Ron Loewinsohn, San Francisco Chronicle

"Reading Perfume is like being submerged in a dark pool of the senses . . . An original and astonishing novel."
--Campbell Geeslin, People

"A strange and ingenius work of literature."
--Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

"Mr. Süskind himself is a perfumer of language . . . A remarkable debut."
--Peter Ackroyd, The New York Times Book Review

"Beautifully researched . . . Brilliant."
--John Updike, The New Yorker

"Immensely seductive . . . Storytelling at its best."
--Steve Paul, The Kansas City Star

"Mesmerizing from first page to last . . . A highly sophisticated horror tale."
--Barbara A. Bannon, Cleveland Plain Dealer

From the Back Cover:

'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 . . .'

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born in a Parisian slum and abandoned on the streets, discovers he has an extraordinary - near superhuman - sense of smell. As he sniffs his way across France, this gift is exploited by Grenouille to make the world's most marvellous perfumes. Yet in seeking perfection in his experiments, he realises that a vital ingredient is missing for the perfect scent: innocence.

And in order to get the ingredient he needs, he must capture it - whatever the price.

'Ingenious and totally absorbing' - Daily Telegraph

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780375725845: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Vintage International)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10: 0375725849 ISBN 13: 9780375725845
Publisher: Vintage, 2001
Softcover

9780141041155: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Essentials)

Penguin, 2010
Softcover

9780671643706: PERFUME

Pocket..., 1987
Softcover

9780241420294: Perfume (Penguin Modern Classics)

Pengui..., 2020
Softcover

9780241973615: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Essentials)

Penguin, 2015
Softcover

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