On Love and Death – Patrick Süskind

January 8, 2013 § 1 Comment

What St Augustine says of time is equally true of love. The less we think about it, the more self-evident it seems, but if we begin reflecting on the subject we find ourselves in deep trouble.

This is how the book starts. And I must say, it’s a great start.

It’s a very thin book, this one. So thin in fact that I finished it in one go, and nearly didn’t know what hit me when I was done.

You see, despite this being an essay of sorts, it read like a jigsaw puzzle of little nuggets of stories, all fitting together just nicely. I’ve never read Süskind before this, though I’ve been meaning to track down Perfume for quite some time now, and after reading this little thing, I’m convinced that I need to put more effort in getting the book somehow.

I’ve got love in my life, I do. But I don’t think about it, not in a navel-gazing way anyway. Halfway through the book, I was almost forced to examine the different relationships I’ve had in my life, and see them from a completely different perspective.

Do we need love in our lives? And is this love really what we think it is?

… love is regarded as the best and most beautiful thing that a human being can give and experience, and […] it is supposed to make us capable of the greatest and highest that we can achieve.

And I rethink the relationship I’m in now, and I wonder if that’s true. I remember a time when I was single, and writing something every single day. I would sit at my desk, pencil in hand, and just disappear into some world unknown to me – only to regain consciousness two hours later with a finished essay/composition/short story in hand.

It’s stuff from years ago, and today when I read them I know I can do much better. But the thing is, I don’t sit and write anymore. I don’t disappear into the wilderness, I don’t “lose myself” to imagination and creativity.

And I wonder if it’s to do with age catching up with me, or if it’s because there’s someone else sharing my time and life.

[Eros] is frenzied, it sees – and names – the divine in the beauty of the beloved, it ultimately urges the lover towards creativity, and it seeks and finds immortality, in this case in the writer’s work.

It seems complex, a little confusing maybe. But I believe in this Eros. I believe that it’s nuts, it makes gods of simple people, and it makes people do the most unbelievable things.

A considerable amount of stupidity is evident in love and infatuation.

How true.


§ One Response to On Love and Death – Patrick Süskind

  • michelle says:

    Love the last quote. 🙂
    I think I have seen copies of ‘Perfume’ recently in some of the bookstores. It’s in those orange cover Penguin editions, if I’m not mistaken. I’ve not read the book but I’ve watched the film. I didn’t realised then, that it was actually adapted from a book.

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