Das Parfum

Slowly making my way through this novel, which of course is better than the film. I particularly enjoyed the conversation between Pater Terrier and the wet-nurse in chapter 2:

‘”Gut riecht er”, sagte die Amme.
“Was heisst ‘gut’?” bruellte Terrier sie an. “Gut riecht vieles. Ein Bund Lavendel riecht gut. Suppenfleisch riecht gut. Die Gaerten von Arabien riechen gut. Wie riecht ein Saeugling, will ich wissen?”‘

Even though most of his characters don’t hang around for very long, Sueskind does a good job giving us a sense of who they are. There is also a surprising amount of humour!

2 thoughts on “Das Parfum”

  1. Let me see… I could tell you that it doesn’t really work in English (which would be untrue) or that I quoted from the original to preserve the mystique of the novel – thereby arousing the curiosity of my many non-German-speaking readers (which would be closer to the truth). the real reason of course is that I was just showing off!

    I’m glad you posted a comment, though. It shows that someone actually reads this stuff!

    Here’s a rough translation:
    ‘”He smells good”, said the wet-nurse.
    “What do you mean by ‘good’?” bellowed Father Terrier. “Lots of things smell good. A handful of lavender smells good. Beef stew smells good. The gardens of Arabia smell good. How does a baby smell, that’s what I want to know.”

    This is funny because of the context of the conversation in which it takes place. Eventually, the discussion turns to theology and the devil’s smell (or lack thereof)…

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