Perfume’s a fascinating book written by Patrick S¸skind; it’s set in the 18th century, and is about the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a person born with an unearthly sense of smell. It’s fascinating for S¸skind’s portrayal of what’s possible when you have this incredibly keen sense that gives you so many opportunities about life that you’ve never even imagined of, from being able to smell lost pocket change from across to the room to passing through crowds undetected. I also enjoyed S¸skind’s tangents and diatribes about the secondary characters partially because the pages he spends on them adds a lot to the atmosphere, but also because plenty of it is just downright amusing.

Unusually, though, I didn’t find it find it a particularly compelling read: it wasn’t a book that made me want to keep reading to find out what happens next. I’m not saying that makes it a bad book — I think it’s an excellent read — merely that I didn’t find I had the urge to read it, which a characteristic that I usually associate with uninteresting books. However, I’m glad I did persist in reading it: the ending is clearly the peak of the book, and finally unveils the full awe of the protagonist’s superhuman scent abilities that S¸skind has been building up since the very beginning.

Recommended reading, though if you’re like me, you may need some willpower to persist to the good bits (i.e. the ending).

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