The Pigeon (novella)

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First edition

The Pigeon (German: Die Taube) is a novella by Patrick Süskind about the fictional character Jonathan Noel, a solitary Parisian bank security guard who undergoes an existential crisis when a pigeon roosts in front of his one-room apartment's door, prohibiting him entrance to his private sanctuary. The story takes place in the span of one day, and follows how this seemingly insignificant event compounds to threaten Noel's sanity. The titular pigeon can be a symbol for disorder intruding on the protagonist's meticulously organized existence, and is obviously in ironic intertextual dialogue with U.S. writer Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 poem The Raven, which features its titular bird perched over its protagonist's door instead of M. Noel's pigeon. This book is Süskind's followup to his nine-year bestselling first novel, Perfume.


Jonathan Noel, lost his parents during the World War II, grew up with his uncle. Was married but his wife abandoned him, and he decided to spend his life alone without drawing anyone's attention.
Marie Baccouche, Jonathan's wife, she was already pregnant when she met him, later she left him for a Tunisian fruit-dealer.
Madame Lasalle, the owner of Jonathan's room, his refuge. Eventually, she consents to sell him the room.
Madame Rocard, a concierge of the house, which Jonathan lives in. He had never spoken to her before the incident with the pigeon occurred. Jonathan considers her too curious.
Monsieur Villman, the deputy director of the bank Jonathan works in.
Madam Roques, a senior cashier of the bank.
Monsieur Roedels, the director of the bank. Jonathan has to open the door of his limousine every day.