The National Post ran an interesting article last week on perfume and literature. Perfumed prose: On finding fictional fragrance inspiration in a bottle reviews the recent crop of books where scents play an important role: Joanne Harris’s Peaches for Monsieur le Curé, Sarah Churchwell’s Careless People, Margot Berwin’s Scent of Darkness, and Kathleen Tessaro’s The Perfume Collector.
“The writer Colette was a perfume enthusiast, penning the preface of a promotional fragrance booklet for Lanvin in 1949. Then as now, perfume marketing and press releases often read like fictions — fragrant flights of fancy constructed to capture the imagination with a good story. But olfactory auras around characters and plot also recur in literature, as seductive and suggestive alchemy of words and smells — from Ovid and Proust to Faulkner and Zola. Scent conveyed in pen and ink is powerful even when it isn’t physically present. To read the rest, please click here.”
One of my favorite novels in which scents influence the plot is Tom Robbins’s Jitterbug Perfume. It combines an intricate plot, humor and clever perfume references. Irresistible!
If you’ve read any of the novels mentioned in the article, how did you like them? Do you have any favorite works of fiction with a perfume twist?
Photography by ginnerobot, via Flickr, some rights reserved