Book Review: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Title: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Author: Patrick Süskind
Genre: Horror / Mystery
Rating: 5 out of 5

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is a German book (originally titled Das Parfum) by Patrick Süskind. It has been made into a movie recently, starring Ben Whishaw as the lead character, and I am very pleased to know that the film has captured the vital essence of the story line: a tale of obsession and greed, and of the dark yet enticing power of the sense of smell.

The story revolves around Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who was born without an odor. The book tells about Grenouille's life, from birth to death, and how he lived day by day without feeling or knowing, set in seventeenth-century Paris. He is described as a person with an exceptional sense of smell, even smelling the most un-smellable of smells like dirt, water, and rock. 

What I find misleading is the subtitle, The Story of a Murderer. I would have expected more gruesome details about the murders Grenouille has committed in search of the perfect perfume. True to the book, and as portrayed in the film, the method of killing wasn't graphically described: only that Grenouille hit the back of the neck of the victims, and then shaving their heads and stripping them naked. I am not sure if I am much of a sadist, but I feel that the book lacks the element of gruesomeness in the murders.

It does, however, make it up by the absurdity of the whole story line itself and for the beautiful way Süskind described the odors that Grenouille can discern. What I loved the most was how Süskind is able to let you smell the odors just by describing it. His writing is very rich in adjectives that weave well to form an almost cinematographic portrayal of the book.

For people who are in for some strange content, Perfume is the perfect book to read: orgies, cannibalism, and a whole lot more. Perfume is a wonderful book with a disturbing story that will leave you staring off into space after reading the whole thing, trying to digest what you have just read. 

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This review is also published in SunStar Cebu, thanks to Fiona Escandor. You can view the online version of the article here.

The Perks of Being on Night Shift

As a student back then, I found it more comfortable and more efficient to study at night; hence, I dubbed myself a night owl.

Now that I am past the student phase, I landed a good job that, unfortunately, requires me to work at night regularly. Health-wise, working at night is not beneficial: higher stress levels, messed-up circadian rhythms, higher gastric acidity levels, and much more. But looking on the brighter side,  I can list down a few things that can make night shift duty much more preferable than on normal office hours. Here's why:

Online Writing: How to Earn Money Online

A lot of people have asked me how I got around to my writing career. When I answer that I started writing online, they ask:

How do you do that?
Where can I find work like that?
How does it work?
How do you get paid?

Let me share to you my story.

Ashputtel: You Are Beautiful

I recently read the Grimms' version of Cinderella, Ashputtel.

Being a Disney fan, I would have expected the original story to be more or less the same as the one portrayed in the cartoon. However, Ashputtel is far from the fairy-tale happily ever after.

Gloomy Sunday

It was a dark, gloomy Sunday, the sound of pelting raindrops on the roof echoed in the four walls of her room. Thunder. Lightning. The torrent of rain continued on as she lay awake in her bed.

She stared blankly at the canopy of her double-decked bed. Her mind wandered off to the events of the weeks past. Months. Years. She had always been the headstrong type, never the one to falter and break down when challenges arise. Luck always seems to be at her favor. But now, it seemed otherwise.

She thought back to the day she decided to leave. Many would think it unwise, unpractical, but for her, it was the best decision she has ever made, second to the time she decided to chase after her lifelong dream. Her dreams consumed her. She was determined to be the best that she can be. The passion and the determination were burning inside her for a while. For a while.

I Open at the Close

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore engraved a cryptic message on the Golden Snitch that Harry swallowed in his first quidditch match: I open at the close. It took Harry many grueling days to figure that one out, until the time came, on the Final Battle at Hogwarts, that he let all his guards down, eventually unveiling the answer to the message: I open at the close.

On Call Center Agents

In the Philippines, BPOs have become the newest nursing to date. When "call center" is brought up in most conversations, negative connotations are automatically pitched in:

"Nursing graduates but ended up in call centers,"
"Degree holders but settled with call centers,"
"You just talk to people. What's so difficult with that?"
"Did not finish school, so he ended up in a call center."

Personally, I used to have the same mind-set, thinking lowly of call center agents. But then, after a year of working in a BPO company, I made friends with call center agents, and I thought otherwise. Was it their choice? Was it because it was an easy job to get into?

On Love, Commitments, and Neurotransmitters

Every man is paired with a woman to procreate and share a life together. But grammatically speaking, is the singular noun "woman" a fact or merely a myth? With the interaction of neurotransmitters in man's body, the answer might lean more on the latter.

In a romanticist's point of view, a relationship blooms when a man falls in love with a woman, and vice versa. With love, the couple can move mountains, doing the best they can to keep the fire burning, to accept his partner for who she is wholeheartedly, and to build a life as husband and wife forever. For hopeless romantics, love is the essential  force of the relationship. The man and the woman are bound to each other, perhaps even in the afterlife.

But in the view of science, this is all debunked.
And in the view of realists, this is all bullshit.
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