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review 2017-02-11 10:53
Il piccione - Patrick Süskind

La sorte ha ferito e deluso intimamente Jonathan Noel, l’ha fatto sentire ridicolo, inadeguato. Temendo di esporsi alla derisione dei suoi simili, Jonathan s’è allontanato da loro, evitando così ogni tipo di contatto. 

La camera che aveva affittato, e che sta per diventare sua, è il microcosmo che lo separa dal mondo, è il suo rifugio, è l’abbraccio che lo protegge e lo rassicura. È il suo piccolo universo ordinato, dove tutto procede senza scossoni, senza sorprese. Senza intrusioni.

È altresì un microcosmo delicato, fragile come un cristallo sottile. L’accidentale e inaspettata presenza di un piccione lo manda in frantumi, sbriciola la normalità, l’ordine che Jonathan aveva costruito, e lo lascia in uno stato d’inquietudine acuta, insostenibile. Oscura.

Il fragore di un tuono, uno solo, violento”, riporta in superficie ciò che da anni dimorava negli abissi della mente.

Quell’angoscia profonda e antica che lacera il petto.

La rinata consapevolezza che chiede spazio.

E l’unica frase che vorrebbe gridare.

Salvifica, come uno scroscio di pioggia.


Siamo fragili. Tutti. E c’è sempre un piccione pronto a fissarci con i suoi occhietti come bottoni cuciti sulle piume della testa, pronto a far crollare il castello del nulla che abbiamo edificato convinti che escludendo il resto dell’umanità si possa vivere un’esistenza indolore.

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text 2016-10-23 18:00
Reading progress update: I've read 50%.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Essentials) - Patrick Süskind ,John E. Woods

A few of my friends here on Booklikes loved this and I really wanted to as well, but it's so weird that I don't think I can continue. Apparently it gets weirder, so is it worth continuing?

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review 2016-10-12 19:26
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Essentials) - Patrick Süskind ,John E. Woods

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born amongst fish offals, is a peculiar child. He has an extraordinary sense of smell, yet he himself doesn´t have a smell of his own. As Grenouille becomes older, he gets more and more obsessed about the smells surrounding him and as time goes by there is only one thing he truly wants: creating the perfect perfume.


I have to admit, it´s very difficult to describe this book in a proper way, because it is utterly bizarre and weird. The ending is totally wacky and upon finishing this novel you will be left with a lot of head-scratching. Nevertheless I really liked this book and all its weirdness.


The story is told by an omniscient narrator in retrospect. The narrator knows what is going to happen and he has an opion about certain things, which he then expresses in a quite sarcastic way. As an example we follow the lives of Grenouilles acquaintances after he has left them and I had to chuckle a bit whilst reading these sidestories. I really appreciated the dark humour in this novel.


Another thing I particularly like is the way how Patrick Süskind describes the world by the mere use of smell. I have never read a more vivid description of 18th century France:


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 mouldering wood and rat droppings, the kitchens of spoiled cabbage and mutton fat; the unaired parlour stank of stale dust, the bedrooms of greasy sheets, damp featherbeds, and the pungently sweet aroma of chamber-pots. The stench of sulphur rose from the chimneys, the stench of caustic lyes from the tanneries, and from the slaughterhouses came the stench of congealed blood. People stank of sweat and unwasched clothes, from their mouths came the stench of rotting teeth, from their bellies that of onions, and from their bodies, if they were no longer very young, came the stench of rancid cheese, and sour milk and tumorous disease. The rivers stank, the marketplaces stank, the churches stank, it stank beneath the bridges and in the palaces. The peasant stank as did the priest, the apprentice as did his master´s wife, the whole of the aristocracy stank, even the King himself stank, stank like a rank lion, and the Queen like an old goat, summer and winter. [...]


So the whole book is very descriptive, but more by the means of smell than of sight and I find this a very unique way of descriping the world. I have never read anything like this before.



I´m not going to recommend this book to anyone, because it is one of these books that you either are going to love or hate. But I loved it. I think it´s a brilliant read.


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text 2016-10-06 21:01
Reading progress update: I've read 263 out of 263 pages.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Essentials) - Patrick Süskind ,John E. Woods

My very first assesment of this book: brilliant, but utterly bizarre. That ending, oh my.


This novel is so odd and weird and unreal in its descriptions of smells and its impact on people, I´m perfectly able to take the book for the magical realism square in the book bingo.




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text 2016-10-06 07:36
Reading progress update: I've read 102 out of 263 pages.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (Penguin Essentials) - Patrick Süskind ,John E. Woods

Jean Baptiste Grenouille gets obsessed about the process of distillation. And surely, what works with plants should work with glass, stone and other objects as well.


Me: "Can someone please explain to Grenouille, how distillation actually works?"


A couple of sentences later the omniscient third person narrator of this book, who tells the story in hindsight, adresses the issue himself:


"He did not know that distillation is nothing more than a process for seperating complex substances into volatile and less volatile components and that it is only useful in the art of perfumery because the volatile essential oils of certain plants can be extracted from the rest, which have little or no scent. For subtances lacking these essential oils, the destilling process is, of course, wholly pointless. For us moderns, educated in physics, that is immediately apparent. For Grenouille, however, this knowledge was won painfully after a long chain of disappointing experiments."


I have to admit that I really like the narration in this novel.






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