Sometimes one book per country isn’t enough. Now that I’m on the lookout for international authors, their books jump out at me and I can’t refuse them even if I’ve already covered their territory. I’ve sneaked these books in between my “official” reading. I thought I’d share them with you.
Perfume: The Story of a Murderer • Das Parfum
by Patrick Süskind • Translated from German by John E. Woods
Originally published in Switzerland by Diogenes Verlag, 1985
My edition: Vintage International, 2001 • 255 pgs
Summary: This utterly original story with a knockout ending features an unforgettable villain: a despised, scentless orphan gifted with a sense of smell more pronounced than a bloodhound’s.
World Lit Up Rating:
(On a scale of 1-5, with 1 book = turned off and 5 books = lit up)
At age six he had completely grasped his surroundings olfactorily. There was not an object in Madame Gaillard’s house, no place along the northern reaches of the rue de Charonne, no person, no stone, tree, bush, or picket fence, no spot be it ever so small, that he did not know by smell, could not recognize again by holding its uniqueness firmly in his memory. He had gathered tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of specific smells and kept them so clearly, so randomly, at his disposal, that he could not only recall them when he smelled them again, but could also actually smell them simply upon recollection. And what was more, he even knew how by sheer imagination to arrange new combinations of them, to the point where he created odors that did not exist in the real world.