Sunday, July 24, 2011

Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer

I will start with a confession. I don't enjoy reading fiction. I'd rather watch fiction than read it. I only enjoy reading as long as it is not too much work! For me fiction is too much work for nothing. I like books where the effort of reading changes me in some way. I am next going to pick up one of the books on Paul Dirac, The Strangest Man after I put down my Oxford Handbook Of Clinical Medicine. Looks like my month is made!

Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer
Patrick Suskind

I read the book and watched the movie. It is a fantastic read, very gripping, elaborate and keeps you going till the end. The movie is well made, the visuals are stunning and it is well narrated.

Being a person who has faith in humanity and the goodness in the world, there are so many things in the book that make me wonder. It takes us through a person's obsession with smell, leads us to believe that the world around him is full of hate. The world made him into what he is and because the world is 'bad', anything he does is okay. If the writer's intent is to make us feel that way, finally question it and conclude for ourselves that it is wrong, then mission accomplished! But romanticising a serial killer is very wrong.

I love a good mystery thriller, even featuring the ugliest minds. But what I look for is a closure which I never got at the end of the story. At least not the way I want it.

So, I choose to see it in a psychological perspective, because that is the only way I can feel sane. I think most of it happens inside this person's mind. I see it as story of someone who had a dysfunctional childhood and is socially maladjusted. He is misanthropic with little emotions. He has a skewed outlook as he sees the world in absolutes and has a distorted sense of reality. He senses a void in his life, what he perceives as the lack of his own scent and it triggers off his sociopathic tendencies. He commits well planned, cold blooded murders, trying to fill that void. He lacks insight and remorse for his actions. I see the bizarre ending as his delusion of grandeur as he thinks he possesses the power to influence the world which ends in a nihilistic delusion. I can only hope that he wakes up to reality in a psychiatric institution.

I am not one of those gifted people who see 'art' in everything. I choose to acknowledge sanity over empathising with a serial killer however acute his sense of smell is or how much ever talented he is as a perfumer. There is nothing fascinating about taking life.

However you see it, it is an interesting read. If you have not read it or seen it, please do. If you have, I would love to know your thoughts.

Giveaway:
I have an unglamourous Penguin Books copy of the book that I finished reading to giveaway. Not technically a giveaway, just want to pass on the book and put it into use. If anyone wants to read it leave a comment below expressing interest and leave your email. The winner will be drawn at random. Closes August 1st.

11 comments:

  1. I love this book :) I actually read it before the movie was even planned...It's a bit twisted but gripping, as you said :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Interesting! I have heard a lot of about this book and movie. Would love to read the book and enter your giveaway.

    It also sounds like a great plot for a crime investigation of modern times :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. :) It sounds really interesting! However I don't read a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This has been on my reading list for a while! I usually prefer fiction, but every once in a while I do rotate in some non-fiction...and I have always had a morbid fascination for the macabre. I read a bunch of Jack the Ripper case followings when I was younger, haha.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the orange penguin covers, they look so lovely lined up on my shelf. I've got this, but am yet to read it. Sounds like a good read for me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I read the book and watched the movie. I`m still undecided if I love or hate it. You are right it is gripping, but I'm not satisfied with the ending.There is no closure.I thought I was too shallow to understand some well hidden soul searching meaning. I like your train of thought on it though. Makes more sense.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've got this book and quite liked it, was a compelling read :) Have yet to see the movie :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks for your thoughts everyone! It is a great read and thought provoking for sure :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've been reading this book for a while, I just haven't had time to read much lately, but I love the writing in it, it's very lovely and lyrical! :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Oh Su - this book sounds really interesting.

    ReplyDelete