Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Top ten real-life monsters in fiction

Glenn Skwerer is a psychiatrist who lives and practices in the Boston area. He was inspired by reading August Kubizek’s memoir, The Young Hitler I Knew, to look more closely at the psychology of the friendship between Kubizek and Hitler, and to recast it entirely as fiction. The Tristan Chord is his first book.

One of Skwerer's top ten "interesting and complex fictional portraits of monstrous characters from real life," as shared at the Guardian:
Perfume: the Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind

The character of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was reportedly based on Manuel Romasanta, a 19th-century Spanish serial killer who extracted the body fat of his (female) victims to produce expensive soap. Grenouille, born in 1738, is a savant and connoisseur of scent. He apprentices himself to a master chemist of perfumes, and begins to murder young girls in order to extract and analyse their scents. The book can be read on many levels: as a story of exquisite addiction; as a meditation on compulsion and lust, and as an exploration of a primitive aspect of experience that is usually sanitised and repressed.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Perfume is among four books that changed Meg Keneally, four books that changed Katrina Lawrence, Karen Runge's five (damn-near) perfect (dark) novels, and Lara Feigel's top ten smelly books.

--Marshal Zeringue