Parfums: A Catalogue of Remembered Smells
From the sizzling sharpness of freshly cut garlic to the cool tang of a father's aftershave; the heady intoxication of a fumbled first kiss to the anodyne void of disinfectant and death, this is a decadently original olfactory memoir.
In sixty-three elusive episodes we roam freely across the countryside of Lorraine, North-East France, from kitchen to farm to a lover's bed. Recognising the bittersweet nostalgia of a scent that slips away on the summer breeze, Claudel demonstrates again his impeccable grasp of the personal and the universal, interweaved with a rare, self-deprecating charm.
This is an evocative patchwork at once earthy and ethereal, erotic and heart-breaking. Claudel permits us a glimpse of moments that have driven him to delight or despair, creating through the fading aromas of the past fragments of humour, insight and quite intangible beauty.
Philippe Claudel is a university lecturer, novelist and scriptwriter. He has written 14 novels that have been translated into various languages. He was born in Dombasle-sur-Meurthe in 1962 where he still lives. Claudel says that he woke up one morning with the opening sentence of Brodeck's Report in his head: "My name is Brodeck and I am not responsible. Euan Cameron's translations include works by Julien Green, Simone de Beauvoir and Paul Morand, biographies of Marcel Proust and Irene Nemirovsky.