My rating: 4 of 5 stars This is a strange book, but I enjoyed it. The paranormal element is different to anything I have encountered before.
Could see Johnny Depp playing the role of Grenouille. Director Tim Burton, of course!
Of course now that I have finished reading it, I’ve also discovered that the book has already been made into a film, and that the film stars Alan Rickman and Dustin Hoffman. That makes me curious to want to see the movie and I plan to rent, borrow or buy it sometime soon to see if they capture the story.
The story is about Jean-Baptiste Grenouille a man born without any scent of his own, but also with the ability to smell things that the average human cannot detect. He can smell the scent of glass, or stone, for instance and even tell one human from another by their particular odor, or find his way in the darkest night, guided by his nose alone.
Born on a trash heap, raised without love (because the lack of any odor does not inspire any feeling in anyone) and turned out into a world that treats him as though he is invisible, Grenouille consoles himself by mentally cataloging every scent he has ever smelled and learns to combine them in his head to create the most exquisite perfumes.
Naturally, he must eventually pursue a career as a perfumier, what other course is open to him? And in doing so, he also sets himself on a quest to create the ultimate perfume. One that, when worn, will make people not only love, but worship him!
How he goes about obtaining and creating this ultimate of scents is what makes this story both unique and chilling. I hesitate to call this a comedy, and yet in many ways it made me smile, and once or twice, even laugh aloud through the employment of a black humor which I found surprising and very satisfying.
I won’t spoil the plot too much by telling you how this quest of his ends, but suffice to say that I found the ending both fitting and satisfying and I highly recommend this to anyone who loves horror, dark humor or black comedy! I’d still like to see Burton and Depp tackle this one, though!