Straight into some pre-emptive complaining about the fact that Patrick Suskind's Perfume has been made into a film. Now, I don't have favourite books. There are many, many books I love very much and I love them all seperately but equally, sort of like how Americans used to imagine God felt about the different races. But I've really loved Perfume for years, and if you haven't read it I strongly advise you do. Although this book isn't everybody's cup of tea, its power and appeal is undeniable to everyone I know who has read it, although their tastes have often been very different from each others'. This is a book that can change people's ideas about what words can do.
The other couple of Patrick Suskind things I've read, the Pigeon and Maitre Muissard's Bequest, are similar in that sense - that as you read them, you feel he's doing something absolutely new with words - but Perfume's scale is grander. It's also the only one I've got Book Nazi about - the Pigeon is too unsettling for me to go around reccommending and MMB is too scary. I don't scare with books, but I felt chilled to the bone after MMB.
I don't want to go on about Perfume because the less you know before reading it the better, which means read it FAST. The publicity for the film already looks pretty aggressive in England and it will be here too if it goes over well there, I suppose. So just read it. And bear with me while I complain that there are some reasons I'm obliged to go see the film, even though the only book-to-film projects I've ever really enjoyed were good films from shit books, like the Godfather.
First, Tom Tykwer directed it and I loved Run Lola Run back in the day. Second, much as I can't resist talking to even unattractive complete strangers when they're in a conversation about a book I love, I can't resist going to see someone else's vision of this book on a big screen. And third, I'm pissed it was made into a movie. It was already an essentially perfect project. There was nothing to fix and nothing to add, at least from my point of view as a reader. So I have a feeling I'm going to need to complain about this movie, alot, and I should see it before I do, at least so my complaining makes more sense.
Finally, I have very little hope the film will be a quarter as astonishing as the book. But I live to be surprised.