Perfume: The Story of a Murderer - Patrick Suskind
This novel was recommended to be by my gf and and I would not normally have read it. It tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, an extremely low born orphan in 18th century France. He exists in a time when odors are everywhere - and most of them are foul. Stinking sewers, unwashed bodies, fouled homes. This little baby is different in that he has no smell of his own yet as he grows older it turs out that he has an exquisite sense of smell. The fellow goes through terrible hardships before finally becoming the creator of some of the most popular perfumes of the day.
The second act of the book follows his rejection of all aroma and retreat to a cave in the mountains. Here things get a bit too metaphysical for me. Ultimately though, the stunted little man returns to the world where he attempts to develop the ultimate perfume. This is where the subtitle "story of a murder" comes into play.
You know, this book was fairly interesting but I think something got lost in the translation from German. The main character was entirely unsympathetic almost the entire way through and I kept hoping for some redemption. The milieu of the time was incredible and the minutae of the art of creating essences and perfumes was pretty cool.
Overall, don't wast your time with this book. There are others that are better.