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Description - The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind

Set in Paris and attracting comparisons with Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe, The Pigeon is Patrick Suskind's tense, disturbing follow-up to the bestselling Perfume. The novella tells the story of a day in the meticulously ordered life of bank security guard Jonathan Noel, who has been hiding from life since his wife left him for her Tunisian lover. When Jonathan opens his front door on a day he believes will be just like any other, he encounters not the desired empty hallway but an unwelcome, diabolical intruder ...

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780140105834
ISBN-10: 0140105832
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 6mm)
Pages: 96
Imprint: Penguin Books Ltd
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Publish Date: 29-Jun-1989
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Pigeon by Patrick Suskind

US Kirkus Review » Suskind, German author of the vivid, stylish, but overrated Perfume (1986), a fable of human stink, now offers a more conventional, clinical serving of dour existentialism: one day in the stultifying life of Paris bank-guard Jonathan Noel - whose narrow, rigidly controlled existence is thrown into fearsome chaos by a tiny invasion from nature. Now past 50, Noel lost his parents to a concentration camp in 1942 - and has ever since, only half-understandably, sought "monotone serenity and uneventfulness." So, after being abandoned by his new wife in 1954, Noel carved out his niche: the impassive bank job; utterly regular, utterly solitary habits; a tiny seventh-floor-walkup room, being purchased outright on an installment plan after 30 years of renting ("the only thing that had proved dependable in his life"). But then, "in August 1984, on a Friday morning," Noel opens his door, sees a pigeon ("the epitome of chaos and anarchy") crouching right there in the hall - and becomes unhinged: "your whole life has been a lie, you've made a mess of it, because it's been upended by a pigeon, you must kill it, but you can't kill it. . ." Terrified of further encounters with the pigeon, Noel flees with a packed suitcase through green spatterings of bird-dirt in the hall, "certain he would never be able to return." For the first time he is absent-minded at the bank; he's filled with "raging self-hatred," especially after tearing a hole in his trousers; he imagines himself becoming like the local bum he sees "shitting in the street." Amid echoes of Perfume, he is soon railing against the hot, stinking city and everything in it - till, after a near-suicidal night in a flophouse, the status quo is quietly restored. Possibly symbolic (Noel=Christ?), probably readable as a man-vs.-universe fable, marginally amusing in a cruel way - and grimly impressive, at taut novella-length, as a cool close-up study of severe obsessive-compulsive neurosis. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Patrick Suskind

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.

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