Friday, November 24, 2006

Don't Read "Perfume"

Our department book club chose a real loser, again. It's Perfume by Philip Suskind. The style's pretentious and the structure seems like the author's following some flowchart or checklist he found in a book on how to construct a novel.

It's the story of some olfactory wunderkind. I'm just on p. 130 about halfway through the book. A chapter will begin with a sentence on the main character's acute sense of smell and after 2 sentences, anyone who's read more than a dozen books and predict what will happen. Oh, the "novice" wows the skeptical perfume master. I guess I can just jump to the next chapter. My guesses have been on the money since page 1.

Yes, this book has won awards and garnered praise. I'm not sure why. If this weren't for a book club, I'd abandon Perfume and resell it immediately on It's not something I'd put on my bookshelves. I want to delete it from my memory. I'm really thinking of not finishing this and getting something else. I'll go to the book club explain my response to the book and see if other people found something redeemable in this and then if they did read the rest. I have too many good books that I want to read by authors I trust.

I may not finish it and just go to the book club ready to say I couldn't read this.


IamMBB said...

I bought this book two years ago (11/22/04)for a bookclub and have yet to get past page 7. I felt like I was being assaulted by the descriptions and I guess I just wasn't in the mood for assault.

It's being released in the US in the next month as a major motion picture (isn't that how they say it?) with Dustin Hoffman and Alan Rickman. It appears that it might already be in release in Europe.

Susan Kelly said...

Those descriptions might have been computer generated. They're horrid.

When I referred to two losers for the dept. book club, the first loser was Cloud Atlas. Now just as at minimum food must be edible, at minimum a novel must be readable.