Perfume tells the story of Grenouille, born without any personal odour but with a magnificent sense of smell. Assuming that the translator follows the original text well, it's a very well written book, though not a pleasant one. The book is subtitled "The Story of a Murderer" and there are some quite gruesome passages in it.
The main character is not particularly sympathetic (although I did feel sorry for him, in a way) but he's not really supposed to be. The other characters are interesting and well-drawn and the atmosphere of eighteenth century France is very well evoked.
I remarked when I started reading this book that it "felt" translated - which it is - but it seemed obviously so, I thought. But now, having finished it, I think the reason I felt that way was that it reminds me rather of Voltaire's Candide, both in style and period.
Thanks to trishtrash for recommending this book to me - I might have missed it otherwise and I'm glad I didn't.