Patrick Suskind's Perfume is a classic novel of death and sensuality in Paris '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 name was Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, and if his name 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, wickedness, but because his gifts and his sole ambition were restricted to a domain that leaves no traces in history: to the fleeting realm of scent ...' 'An astonishing tour de force both in concept and execution' Guardian 'A fantastic tale of murder and twisted eroticism controlled by a disgusted loathing of humanity ...Clever, stylish, absorbing and well worth reading' Literary Review 'A meditation on the nature of death, desire and decay ...a remarkable debut' Peter Ackroyd, The New York Times Book Review 'Unlike anything else one has read. A phenomenon ...Everyone seems to want to get a whiff of this strange perfume, which will remain unique in contemporary literature' Figaro 'An ingenious and totally absorbing fantasy' Daily Telegraph 'Witty, stylish and ferociously absorbing' Observer Patrick Suskind was born near Munich, in 1949. He studied medieval and modern history at the University of Munich. His first play, The Double Bass, was written in 1980 and became an international success. His first novel, Perfume, became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. He is also the author of The Pigeon and Mr. Summer's Story, and a coauthor of the enormously successful German television series Kir Royal. Patrick Suskind lives and writes in Munich.
During the past decade there have been many changes in the perfumery industry which are not so much due to the discovery and application of new raw materials, but rather to the astronomic increase in the cost of labour required to produce them. This is reflected more particularly in the flower industry, where the cost of collecting the blossoms delivered to the factories has gone up year after year, so much so that most flowers with the possible exception of Mimosa, have reached a cost price which has compelled the perfumer to either reduce his purchases of absolutes and concretes, or alternatively to substitute them from a cheaper source, or even to discontinue their use. This development raises an important and almost insoluble problem for the perfumer, who is faced with the necessity of trying to keep unchanged the bouquet of his fragrances, and moreover, to ensure no loss of strength and diffusiveness. Of course, this problem applies more especially to the adjustment of formulae for established perfumes, because in every new creation the present high cost of raw materials receives imperative con- sideration before the formula is approved.
Patrick Suskind's Perfume follows the life of
Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, abandoned at birth in the slums of
eighteenth-century Paris, but blessed with an outstanding sense of
smell. This gift enables Jean-Baptiste to master the art of perfume
making, but one scent evades him: that of a virgin, whom he must
possess to ensure her innocence and beauty are preserved. Laced with
sense and suspense, this is a beguiling tale of lust, desire and deadly
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