Patrick Suskind was born near Munich in 1949 and studied medieval and modern history at the University of Munich. His first play, The Double Bass, was written in 1980 and became an international success. His first novel, Perfume was also an internationally acclaimed bestseller and continues to be considered a classic. He is also the author of The Pigeon and Mr. Summer's Story, and a coauthor of the enormously successful German television series Kir Royal. Patrick Suskind lives and writes in Munich.
$14.95. f In Perfume ( LJ 10/15/86), his internationally acclaimed first novel, Suskind explores the obsessive inner world of a monster genius. In his new novella he paints a humorous if disquieting portrait of an ordinary man who is nevertheless as obsessive as Suskind's first protagonist. Jonathan Noel is a bank guard in Paris. Deeply traumatized by his childhood experiences during the German occupation of France, he strives with singular dedication to reduce his life to utter uneventfulness and monotony. The sudden appearance of a pigeon on his doorstep completely unhinges him, threatening to plunge his life into chaos. A fine translation of a masterfully crafted novella, essential for literature collections. Ulrike S. Rettig, Wellesley Coll., Wellesley, Mass.
Suskind's previous novel, Perfume, was a tough act to follow, so perhaps he deliberately curbed his aspirations for its successor. Where Perfume was a rich feast of language and vision, this slim novella is a light snack, a simple fable simply wrought. After a childhood marked by repeated abandonment, followed by years devoted to cultivating the lifestyle of an urban hermit, Parisian bank guard Jonathan Noel awakes one morning to find the titular bird outside the door of his rented one-room flat, the presence of which so unnerves him over the course of the day, that he finally goes to sleep vowing to commit suicide the next morning. Redemption comes at daybreak in the form of a rainstorm and the realization that, despite the sadness of his early years, he ``cannot live without other people.'' Like the monster scent-stealer of Perfume, Noel is an extreme example of a social outcast, but despite a few nice toucheshe recognizes his first rush of adrenaline as something he has read abouthis characterization lacks the inventiveness of the former. The verbal flights of fancy that dazzled in Perfume are missing here, although that book's less interesting allegorical affinities remain. Readers with high hopes for The Pigeon will be disappointed; those who approach the book with limited expectations will be better suited to appreciate its modest rewards. 35,000 first printing; paperback rights to Pocket Books; BOMC and QPBC alternates. (May)