4 journalers for this copy...
From the back cover: In the slums of 18th-century Paris a baby is born. Jean-Baptiste Grenouille clings to life with an iron will, growing into a dark and sinister young man who, although he has no scent of his own, possesses an incomparable sense of smell. He apprentices himself to a perfumer and quickly masters the ancient art of mixing flowers, herbs, and oils. But his quest to creat the "ultimate perfume" leads him to commit a series of brutal murders until no woman can feel safe as his final horrifying secret is revealed.
Smells. Scents. Odors. For most of us, they underlie the rest of our interactions, but for Grenouille they are the primary. His only interest in the world is in its smells. People, words, feelings, and even physical comforts are only interesting insofar as they relate to the smells that Grenouille learns to parse the individual particles out of a scent. He later learns to collect and distill smells.
It was a fascinating book. Grenouille is a completely abhorrent individual. Despite the tragedy of his beginning, it is impossible to find softness for him, as there is none in him. His quest to master scent becomes an obsession and a drive for power through twisted, nefarious means. But the power that he seeks eventually undoes him, resulting in a very unexpected conclusion.
ETA: 3/16/08 - reserved for Morsecode who won it in the BookObsessed Translated Lit Swap.
Now mailing to Morsecode.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
It's a very gritty and sometimes surreal look at 18th-century Paris, through the eyes of a scent-obsessed man with a super-sensitive nose. The descriptions of the odors - from the appalling ones to the divine - help bring the locales to life, but I admit that once our strange hero starts trying to capture the fragrances of women's bodies things get... very disturbing!
[There's a TV Tropes page on the novel, with comments on the 2006 film as well.]
WILD RELEASE NOTES: