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Süskind, Patrick

story pigeon intense grenouille

(German, 1949– )

Süskind studied and lives in Munich, and was a television writer and playwright before becoming a novelist. In 1992 his play Double Bass was performed at the Edinburgh Festival and the National Theatre. His most famous work, Perfume (1985), tells the story of Grenouille, an utterly amoral foundling born with a peculiarly intense sense of smell. Grenouille obtains work at a perfume house, and begins the serial killing of young girls in order to extract and bottle their odour. He leaves a trail of destruction behind him until he is eventually caught and put on trial. The book draws us into his world through the most rapturously sensual descriptions of scent ever committed to paper. The Pigeon (1987) is an extended short story about a similarly isolated hero, dealing in intense detail with the trauma and havoc wreaked in his obsessively ordered life by the appearance of a pigeon.

Franz Kafka, Will Self.


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