Perfume: The Story of a Murderer – Patrick Suskind

A deeply disturbing story that evolves through time as it shifts and surpasses the boundaries of literary worlds. What if what we perceive as the boundaries of our objective universe isn’t the only space we inhabit? The story of Perfume and the provocative and redolent sphere it creates definitely makes a good argument for it.

It inhabits a blip in time; a black hole of the universe’s most cruel joke which is to become an accessory to fragrance. Now, we think of fragrance as having a more meek quality. Imagine a world where we were the meek ones. It can be mystifying, titillating but knuckled under a growing horror. Perfume: The Story of a Murderer discovers the atoms and molecules of such a world in its every breath. It’s a celebration of the living world but carried out through its destruction.

The book is full of effulgent descriptions, the poetics of perfuming, and finally, murder blanketed as a sensual remedy for isolation. The path it takes is profoundly imaginative, horrific, and unpredictable. It’s not a historical tale, not a mystery, not a crime novel, nor is it horror. Most of the time, the stamp of a book is not what it is for the world, but what it becomes, detached, for itself. And that’s exactly the kind of book Perfume: The Story of a Murderer is.


To buy the book and support this review, buy from this Amazon link.


For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.Paragraph

Without you having to pay a single rupee more – I just get a certain percentage cut of the price of the book sold on Amazon. Click through this Amazon homepage link to buy more books.

The Dichotomy of a Culture

In Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.

“…the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories, you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.”

This was an excerpt from one of my favorite reads…. A book that is the measure of loving and the subtraction of it. It carries the weight of a heavy soul… kept in a jar… tightly sealed… full of anguish, regrets, misplaced memories, and shattered kinship. You see glimpses of it through cracks in the surface left behind by the piercing eyes of one’s political, cultural, and historical predispositions.

The book is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

The book reads like a melancholic and secretive diary. A diary that you never bring out into the world; keeping it safely tucked away under a mattress or behind a mountain of personal belongings. A diary that is cradled too close to the heart, brutally and yet fervently expressive; the honesty of which even frightens you. It’s the flesh of the wound that runs the deepest and that bleeds on those blank pieces of paper; but in the end, it is bandaged by only you. This is it. The enormity of Arundhati Roy’s compass pointing us in so many glued-together directions. Having read this book three times, tucked between periods of days, weeks, months of staying away from a book that I, who am inclined to always pick up a new book because there’s always so much to read, go back to it every time for some sentimental and perceptive consolation. 

The thing about reading tragedy is that it becomes your own. Or that you claim that it is your own. How else would you feel it? The triumphs of loneliness, isolation, despair, and anger run deep into the well of your emotional tendencies. The characters are waiting for you to peel back their layers, upon a surface that makes up a story’s setting. The inadequacy of such a task is ironically what brings you closer to Arundhati Roy’s fiction. You read the words, maybe in whisper-quiet echoes. But you feel it pulsating in every muscle and their hollow spaces as if those very echoes mimic the speed and the color and the density of blood.

The book is set in Kerala, ingrained in its language; the dichotomy of a culture, of lives that were born too soon (or that shouldn’t have been born at all). The narration is restless with religious and political descriptions. Arundhati Roy has a unique way of defining these descriptions through her characters. The role of a mother, of a child, of a brother, a cousin, a lover, it’s in their history that one remembers the history of Kerala. If you’ve read the back cover of the book; the description hits the nail on the head. Amid the ruined, the forgotten, the misplaced – you won’t find a book this expansive in its depth and yet the characters live lives that feel quite the opposite.

It goes on for 340 pages; enough to contain decades and decades of survival. As a reader, you will diligently surrender to the writing style and tone of the book. It’s fast in its narration and yet you feel like it holds back time. Dropping an anchor in anyone who evaluates a book not only by its unpredictable structure but by its understanding of emotions – and their lyrical reminiscence. 

A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro

Buy A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro on Amazon

A rare ghost story, buoyant in nature, A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro is most remedying. The book draws its courage and simplicity from its narration. How deeply it strings together the forceful stream of memory upon a person’s solemn and intriguing life. The book, in many ways, teaches you how to live and do nothing else. And in that lies the means to live wholly.

Inspiring patience in monotomy and resonance in upbringing. And the roots of a family that plant one another at unforeseen moments, unremembered but never erased. This book is beautiful but sad. It maps the distance between such self-aware relationships. The fragility of them, how they once grew toward each other, and now they seem to grow apart. Isn’t that how most things in life transpire?

We all wish to re-live a few past memories while also welcoming the forgetfulness of them. Could that be more than dwelling on the past? Like navigating the gradual weaving of time. The phenomenon we know to be inevitable and yet feels as surreal as dreaming. The book dwells on the past and present in a way that it enriches the vivid presence of Etsuko. Possessing a quaint, vibrant, and soulful quality.


To buy the book and support this review, buy from this Amazon link.


For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.

Without you having to pay a single rupee more – I just get a certain percentage cut of the price of the book sold on Amazon. Click through this Amazon homepage link to buy more books.

If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller – Italo Calvino

We live in a world in which our perceptibility of reality, its acute awareness, and tireless influence are embraced as if canvassed across the night sky in a spectacle of lights. Marking your own bearings on such a sky takes a lifetime.

Every star, every imprint has a gleaming light of its own; a deep and intense light. This intensity keeps changing for those who are still on earth because they look at it differently. Some look at the stars in hope, some in anguish, some in euphoria. But do we wonder if anybody is looking back at us from above? The effulgence of light manifesting a ‘telluric’ quality of sorts.

And do we then derive our passions, loves, and fervor from the energy of lights? Standing under them, one after another, embracing all its ethereal traits. The multiple voices of a thousand and more lives. The language that resonates most with our inner voice. We hear it in whispers, taste it in nondescript flavors, and see it through the eyes of our soul.

Consider Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller as a trove of those voices. It remedies the ragged edges of reality. It reclaims the unattainable in dreams, the impossibilities in feeling, and the unimaginable in expression.

The path this luminous book takes is idiosyncratic in that it has many truths and many identities. It stations you into a world no one yet knows is. Invading your mind, soul, and whole concrete being. Calvino perfectly describes the uncertainty, the murkiness, the anticipation which compels a reader to read a new book. And how each time you read, you experience the self that is you, the reader.


To buy the book and support this review, buy from this Amazon link.


For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.

Without you having to pay a single rupee more – I just get a certain percentage cut of the price of the book sold on Amazon. Click through this Amazon homepage link to buy more books.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The truth is that every book, and in it every story, holds in its imagination a dream. The dream demands truthfulness from its reality. Separating, by a thin veil, the person hanging on to reality for clarity and the person relying on the lucidity of dreams for intense, unforeseen love.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores is the exploration of the lacunae between both worlds. It’s moving, crisp, and soul-rendering. The words ignite and wander in the land of nostalgia, love, and mortality. Reclaiming you as its solitudinous voyager, its narrator, and impersonator.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s words aren’t a measure at all. They burst forth into the recesses of a melancholic and lonely life. The book chronicles the fullness and emptiness of such a life. And soaring from its pages is the transparency of what returns to life over and over again. Tightening the threads of time strung together by mortality. The ending is the fulfillment of an unfulfilled life. The beginning of the resurrection of one.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores is about the incomplete and restless relationship of love and time. The depth of the right love met at the wrong time. And the fragility of a love that never returned when it should have. Perhaps love never does fit one like a glove. Love is time’s revenge upon death. And its own extinction.


To buy the book and support this review, buy from this Amazon link.


For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.

Without you having to pay a single rupee more – I just get a certain percentage cut of the price of the book sold on Amazon. Click through this Amazon homepage link to buy more books.

On the Nature of the Psyche – Carl G. Jung

A quick read that sketches a primordial quality of the human psyche. How can we know if we exist? Does imagination weave together this body, this mind, this projection of an inner self which stretches outside and takes control of reality?

The relevancy of this book… the fabric it’s made of… is banal. A book I’d recommend to everyone to read at least once. Complement its standpoint, its philosophy, with the help of other books of a similar nature.

While the history of the world exists. The chronological aspect of the mind is held intricately together by such works. It’s brutal, immersive, electrifying. Its effect is of one standing in front of a mirror, as if for the very first time, unable to recognize the patterns that emerge. The gradations, the mystery, the creases. It’s real but it isn’t. Your psyche breeds your existence. So when it’s lost, do you drown and recede into oblivion?


To buy the book and support this review, buy from this Amazon link.


For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.

Without you having to pay a single rupee more – I just get a certain percentage cut of the price of the book sold on Amazon. Click through this Amazon homepage link to buy more books.

Kusamakura – Natsume Soseki

This book remains too ephemeral. And yet it is profoundly infused with the feeling of living in (or with) the present. It’s a book that goes on changing as a self but its characteristic motif is of lightness and timelessness. Kusamakura is Natsume Soseki’s plunge into experimental literature. It’s a first on many counts and will be the longest-lived. 

It’s a book that realizes its extraordinariness but not in the way that most books do. The present is all that the book is willing to give up and that’s what makes it a meditative read. When you step into the world of a fictional character, you’re taken through objects as if in reality. You explore new horizons, observe the map of the character’s world which a novel allows you to investigate. 

And even if you come out of this book without feeling inspired or transformed. Know that to read it is to let go of the chaos that resides everywhere around you. To read it is to appreciate stillness that grows with every page. And there’s nothing more revealing and rewarding for a reader – to be the one at the receiving end of this beautiful transaction. 


To buy the book and support this review, buy from this Amazon link.


For The Public Eye is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. This affiliate advertising service allows me to receive commissions for the book purchases you make.

Without you having to pay a single rupee more – I just get a certain percentage cut of the price of the book sold on Amazon. Click through this Amazon homepage link to buy more books.

On Understanding Our Subjective And Objective Reality

In Arthur Schopenhauer’s The Wisdom of Life. The sense of self as the most distinctive and defining aspect of human life.

Do you believe that we are always constant with a specific pattern in life? We change rhythmically but our roots cling to the same soil? The same source of life — water?

To meditate on such an existential and personal thought forms the basis of one of the most influential and philosophical essays of Arthur Schopenhauer. Today, I contemplate on The Wisdom of Life’s subject of a person’s objective and subjective reality.

The following passages, which can be found at the beginning of The Wisdom of Life, are confounding and comforting to the mind. It brings to light the fact that no changes in any circumstances can align one’s internal perception, emotions, and thoughts to another. And no change in one’s internal world can influence that of another. Assuming that we are fellow passengers on the same train.

…all of which rests upon the fact that every event, in order to be realized and appreciated, requires the co-operation of two factors, namely, a subject and an object, although these are as closely and necessarily connected as oxygen and hydrogen in water. When therefore the objective or external factor in an experience is actually the same, but the subjective or personal appreciation of it varies, the event is just as much a different one in the eyes of different persons as if the objective factors had not been alike.”

We revise our internal world to fit the scale of the external. And in doing so, or trying to, we irrevocably develop our individual and original identities. This is what makes any two persons different in their own ways.

Can you imagine two people, cooped up in the same room from childhood to maturity, being unanimously at odds with each other?

Arthur Schopenhauer has. He has, so eloquently, explained this fact in what constitutes to the ultimate distinction of human life. And this exactly what he wishes to enlighten us with. Consider the following passage:

In plain language, every man is pent up within the limits of his own consciousness, and cannot directly get beyond those limits any more than he can get beyond his own skin; so external aid is not of much use to him.”

We hope to transcend major life lessons such as pain, heartbreak, guilt, and loss. We hope to understand them, mold them, and nurture them. Not for the world that constitutes them. But in order to understand ourselves.

To solidify our nature as the only way to react to what happens outside of us. Throughout this journey, we cling to what guides us forward and we cut loose those strings that hold us back.

Is this, Schopenhauer suggests, the basis of our imagination? Or does this have an actual and objective groundwork in reality? Something that everybody can see and feel together?

The answer to this empirical question lies below:

“Since everything which exists or happens for a man exists only in his consciousness and happens for it alone, the most essential thing for a man is the constitution of this consciousness, which is in most cases far more important than the circumstances which go to form its contents.”

This concludes that self-expression makes the self the deepest layer of our reality. And what happens outside of it forms our circumstances; merely cards that in a game are meant to be dealt with.

The thing that makes life rich to one and dull to another is the realization of the identity surpassing the contents of the world. And to win against this fight we have to learn to connect our mind of today to our mind of yesterday and of tomorrow.

The Search for Lost Things: In Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude

Neither reality nor any other form of describable possibility can tell you what this book’s setting free. You can regard it as a parallel to a life, that is birthed and breathed. Nor can I bring to life the intricate and animated lives that bind One Hundred Years of Solitude. The countless possibilities of imagination its literature binds to something that remains unhindered and untouched in a world quite unique to our own. So still are the characters’ lives and so run by the course of time that even One Hundred Years, written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez seemed too short enough to be lived. The quest for an ending, along with time, love, and loss, is almost unending. The end itself forms the premise of an undying destiny bred through what is lived and what is left by people molded by it.

So, are we free of transforming from mud to bricks?

Are we neglected by death even if we don’t make a sound? While these questions have not yet found answers. To me, asking the question is enough to feel privileged for a book this purifying, provocative, and enchanting to the soul.

“…watching the flow of the fire as it glided the persistent woman who neither then nor in any instant of her life seemed to exist completely.”
– Gabriel García Márquez

one hundred years of solitude book review

The ground on which One Hundred Years of Solitude stands on is made of tectonic plates that rattle, constantly, with no discipline to show for. The rattle is demeaning but crucial; bewildering but swift. It’s the unpredictability of intuition and intention we’re so oblivious to. And if such virtuosity exists, it exists in this book. It speaks of solitude with purpose and purpose without the loss of hope. One Hundred Years of Solitude is the absolute ticket to what imagination could bring into this world. It is the precipice that knows no bounds and has no explicit shape or color.

What is recognized is not how the characters live the same lives, but how each character dives deeper into history, repeating its course over and over again so as to be close to it. Like a spell-bound and possessed lover. These dimensions I’ve drawn up are unscathed and undiscoverable to the naked eye. It’s what is undisciplined and pure, quite like the transgressions of the story. The vessel of humanity which runs in spite of the destined lapses of space and time.

“…the search for lost things is hindered by routine habits and that is why it is so difficult to find them.”
– Gabriel García Márquez

What does this vessel do? It protects what is yours. It defends soil without breathing life into it. So when you bury a seed deep into the ground, you’re no longer a part of it. You will never look upon that patch of earth ever again. Why? Because to you, the act of planting the seed and giving it life is an act of never having to exist with it. So, you can live outside the realms of the law. And you give purpose to such indiscretions as you’ve had to survive through it.

Again, the act of diving deep into history just to be intimate with it. To have it give you a purpose and to have you give it a reason. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a magical ode to literature and the muscle it yields to stay close to your soul.

 

one hundred years of solitude book review
Even after you’ve read it, the words continue to enchant the mind, purify the heart. Until there’s nothing left but a sweltering desire to see the day run its end. For the sun to set and the moon to take its place. How can you count days and nights without numbers? How can you control time if not without a clock? Because then, in doing so, time is not passed on but felt. Then, in feeling so, days don’t end with nights. Instead, the passage of time dissolves into an abyss, in the laps of darkness, until we dissolve in it too.

Such is the fusion lives with which we identify so vividly and delicately. We try to believe that the sun and the moon are two opposites. But in this book, you understand that they’re the only laws of the earth we’ve supposed to mark and follow. The only laws that give life and death unerringly by swallowing it whole.

On the Seemingly Vain Things We Do: In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise

To reach the highest point of something is to expose oneself to the atrocities of what exists on the other side. That, too, is often self-possessing and leaves a person insecure to the dreariness of living. Does this struggle make us desolate and alone, or will we die knowing we thoroughly testified against the trial that ran its course throughout our lifetime?

The truth about our ego is to look at the world within the limits of our own perspective of it. This, as much distinct and unnerving, is an invitation to what we’d like to become. And not our matter of being.

Just like in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise — the chapter Snapshots of the Young Egotist, Fitzgerald writes:

“It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the becoming. This, too, was quite characteristic of Amory.”

He also wrote a striking reflection of the character which we see much of everywhere in the light of betrayal and domination:

“Amory kept his temper with difficulty. He became aware that he had not an ounce of real affection for Isabelle, but her coldness piqued him. He wanted to kiss her, kiss her a lot, because then he knew he could leave in the morning and not care. On the contrary, if he didn’t kiss her, it would worry him… It would interfere vaguely with his idea of himself as a conqueror. It wasn’t dignified to come off second best, pleading, with a doughty warrior like Isabelle.”

This passage examines a person mastering something that feels chaotic and passive, but in fact, is opposed to such remarks. Given our tiring limits of existence, can we unravel the drudgery of our actions? Such magnetism toward one’s own cause and consequence is sure to keep one awake at night. And this is greater than fear… which is greater than my humility. But what I feel and how I feel exists as only mirrors to what others have made me out to be. So, if I were to tear the unsanctified pages of my relationship with what’s between me and others, as a means to an end — what would I be? An egotist, reasonable of doubt, and a captive to my own feelings and emotions.

So, would there be a difference between my character and Amory’s? In the understanding of this thought, I felt as if my surety in my own self was finally defeated. That I’m as capable of translating judgment and conceit in my thoughts as in my actions toward others. We all are. And that gives us leverage; a peek into myriad characters we resonate with in books, movies, and music. And will continue to do so. At last, when I return to my lonely bed at night, there’s no dishonour in dismissing what I am — for what I want to become tomorrow is the only self-serving advantage I am granted.