I finished reading Perfume on Friday, and I stand by my original assessment: not disturbing.
Yes, Grenouille kills lots of people, and yes, he turns them into perfume, but it’s not disturbing. I think a lot of that has to do with language: Perfume is beautifully written, by someone who is a master at his craft. Horrible things happen in the story to be sure, but they way they are presented makes all the difference. Süskind never dwells on the brutality of what is happening; he just states the essential facts and moves on. There is no dipping blood, no gut-churning descriptions of violence and despair, no imagery calculated to give you nightmares for the rest of your life.
It’s a beautiful book about a horrible person. I suppose that could be considered disturbing, but I really don’t see it that way.
I love this book.
Here is my visual tribute to the book; the pictures were taken by me in New York, Oslo, and Chester PA.
Source: personal copy