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The Pigeon (International Writers) [Paperback]

Patrick Suskind , John E. Woods
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

29 Jun 1989 International Writers
Set in Paris and attracting comparisons with Franz Kafka and Edgar Allan Poe, The Pigeon is Patrick Süskind'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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The Pigeon (International Writers) + Perfume: The Story of a Murderer + Perfume - The Story Of A Murderer (Single Disc Edition) [DVD]
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Product details

  • Paperback: 77 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (29 Jun 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140105832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140105834
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 12.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Patrick Süskind was born near Munich, in 1949. He 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, became an internationally acclaimed bestseller. He is also the author of Mr Summer's Story, and a coauthor of the enormously successful German television series Kir Royal. Patrick Süskind lives and writes in Munich.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
At the time the pigeon affair overtook him, unhinging his life from one day to the next, Jonathan Noel, already past fifty, could look back over a good twenty-year period of total uneventfulness and would never have expected anything of importance could ever overtake him again - other than death some day. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "How long did a pigeon live?" 14 Jun 2005
After a rocky childhood as a result of World War II, Jonathan Noel had a good two decades of plain existence. He has been renting a room for that time and even though he does not even have a private bathroom he has decided to buy it. He works as doorman at a bank and day after day he follows the exact same schedule. But now that he is in his fifties, things are about to change.
One Friday morning in the month of August 1984, while he was on his way to the bathroom, Jonathan sees a pigeon outside the door of his room and goes into panic. He is afraid that pigeons will overtake the apartment and he does not dare kill it. The pigeon causes a revolution in the main character's life that is baffling, but the metaphor is hard to miss. Jonathan embarks in a series of crazy plans to evade the object that causes his strain, going as far as moving into a hotel, even though he cannot afford it.
Once more Suskind shows his ability for delving into the psyche of his characters and providing his readers with awesome insight. When we add to this author's writing ability to the mix, the result is more than satisfactory. This book in particular reminded me of the works of my favorite writer, Dostoevsky, since the Russian's main characters often enter a vicious circle in which they thinking something bad will happen and this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, which can only be prevented through great determination and effort. For those that have not read Suskind before, this is a good a place to start as any, and of course, make sure to not disregard his masterpiece "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer". Those that do know him already understand what I am talking about!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By Simon Savidge Reads TOP 1000 REVIEWER
`The Pigeon' is a strange little tale in many ways. In only 77 pages Süskind gives you a rather unusual and momentous day in the life of Jonathan Noel. What makes this work all the more is that in the first five pages you have pretty much been given his life, which equates to his parents vanishing, living with horrid relatives, serving for the army and then having thirty years of the utterly mundane and simply working to eat and by a room with a shared toilet in Paris. That is until the day a pigeon is sat on his doorstep as he tries to go to the bathroom, something that causes Jonathan to have a complete nervous breakdown, to both comic and emotional extremes, which seems to have been waiting to happen for forty or so years.

I don't want to say any more as being a novella my review could easily go on for as long as the book and I don't want to give anymore away. I will say as Jonathan's day slowly got worse I found myself both laughing more and worrying more all at once. I also really empathized with him because of how Süskind writes his emotions and frustrations. When he rips his trousers you are completely there with him, you know how it feels - the humilation, the anger at the trousers and then at yourself, it's very well done.

I couldn't compare it to `Perfume' but then I wouldn't want to. I don't think you can compare any two works of one author especially when one is as successful as `Perfume'. I can say that `The Pigeon' has reminded me why I love Perfume so much, Süskind can put you into the mind of people who at first seem ordinary and show you all their quirks, he can also take you to beautiful cities like Paris and darken them with his words without making anything grandly gothic or overdone. It will also have you wondering what small incident or happening could change your life forever.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A journey into the paranoia of a lonely man 12 July 2002
Having read Perfume some years back I was intrigued by Pigeon would it be as memorable ? Having devoured it in one sitting I can say his work is just as visually intense as Perfume and from an emotional viewpoint you wonder about the earlier parts of our security guard's life as the story although good could have been longer... or is that just greedy?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pigeon Fable 7 April 2012
By L.Lais
I'm not one to give away too much about a book in a review, but I will try my best to be concise with the facts. Ok, so Pigeon was written after the great success of Perfume, in a similar French/Parisian setting. But, the novella retains the same language structure Suskind uses in Perfume in order to aid the reader with their imagination. Beautiful words to denote the beautiful setting. The syntax style is - as ever - in top form. The irony is it's about Jonathan's pigeon fear, yet the book is far more in depth than that. Jonathan is an average guy who has lead a standard life, happy just trimming by never challenging his thoughts or his inner self, always repressed. The pigeon changes all of that, it brings back his childhood trauma's & fears which must be faced and dealt with. All this takes place in the space of a day, similar style of Ulysses, except the novella is much more enjoyable as opposed to bearable due to the writing style. The pigeon itself is a direct representation of the break down in Jonathan's daily routine, his very existance is in question. The constant use of poo rimmed floors and walls is the chaos the pigeon causes to Jonathan and his sanity. Which, in turn, forces him to re-evaluate his life and think about what his next step should be. Disappointingly, he decides the only way out of the poo infested one bedroom apartment, away from the vermin filled pigeons, is by committing suicide. Most unfortunate that the ending is rather abrupt, however, not in the way the Novella leads you to believe. Once again, although it is a very short story, it's a great follow up. The novella resembles a fable like tale, accept the pigeon does not do the talking or the telling, it instead leaves it's excretement about and the rest must be deciphered by us! A great read, but I'm a biased Patrick Suskind fan. Hope you enjoy
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