Photograph of German writer Patrick Süskind.

Patrick Süskind

In Süskind’s debut novel, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, published in English in 1986, the main character Grenouille possesses an exquisite olfactory sense and becomes a serial killer who takes the “precious” scent of a female victim, wanting “to peel it from her skin and to make her scent his own,” in order to distill it. When Kurt Cobain was asked in an interview in 1993 if he had any favorite books, he replied, “I’ve read Perfume, by Patrick Süskind, about ten times in my life, and I can’t stop reading it...because I’m a hypochondriac: it just affects me. It makes me want to cut my nose off.”

Issues Contributed