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The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose
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Mar 03, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, books-sent-by-author-publisher-for

I am not a smoker and really find it to be a rather gross addiction in others, but if I am outside on a hot summer day and smell a cigarette in the air, I am almost immediately drawn back to my childhood and playing little league baseball. For me that smell experience is strongly tied to sitting in the dugout while various parents smoked in the bleachers. It never ceases to amaze me how easily my mind makes that transition; and more importantly it is the only thing that does trigger it. Not even playing baseball will do it, just that smell.

What if you could smell something so powerful, so tied to you that it made it possible to not only take you back to your childhood, but beyond. The overlaying theme of the book (and the series) is reincarnation, that we have spent multiple lives here on earth. If you could find the right blend of fragrances you could access those memories that you keep buried, you could truly understand who you are. As I said, fragrances can trigger specific memories; the only question is how many memories do we have?

The author is a little to ambitious in this book, telling a love story over time, plus a history book (of perfuming, Egypt, and Psychology), a suspense thriller, and Buddhism thrown in too. So the story could have been a little tighter or the narrative a lot longer (to do all the subplots justice) than it was. But even with all that the plot it was simply marvelous, making the me want to know more about everything. What do I think about reincarnation? What is going on with the whole underground tunnels in Paris? What is the history of perfume? How does Carl Jung interpret it? And so on. This book will tickle your interests and leave you looking for more.

Thanks T Steven for this review.
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