Some months ago I was re-reading the biography of one of the artists that intrigues me the most, Kurt Cobain, and it said he was basically obsessed with this book. He felt identified with the main character and it's own self- imposed isolation from the world and society in general. So I started reading it. It's a fairly short and simple story, about unfortunately named serial killer, "Jean Baptiste Grenouille", from his birth from an infanticidal mother to him becoming one of the most successful perfume artists in Europe, all while killing young women and robbing them of their scent. He didn't have a scent himself, so with his knowledge and keen sense of smell he would create fragrances that would serve any purpose he wanted (being liked or not being noticed at all). However, besides all those surreal things, there was something that really stood up, and I guess it had a lot to do with what Kurt Cobain saw in this character: He was filled with anger and hatred since he was born. Unwanted by his mother, and despised and feared by every person that encountered him because of his lack of smell, and gifted with an extremely powerful sense of smell, he felt superior to everyone, at the same time as he was hating them too. However, when he had a chance of living as a hermit, and avoid society all together, he decided to come back. Is as if he had a desire to make them feel his superiority, and make them pay for hating him and not recognizing his grandiosity. When thought of it that way, I see Grenouille more like a tragic figure. Cursed to be hated and cause repulsion to everyone that encountered him, all while feeling contempt for the society that failed to see his gifts. In the end, when he got the chance to completely show them his power, all he got was love from them, and his gifts gave pleasure even to the people who were indirect victims of him, which made him feel empty. A tragic figure indeed, cursed to live in a society that saw him as a freak, and cursed with an internal anger and hate that he never quite understood (and never tried to understand either).
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