A frozen scatter shot moment of the author s past Garlic is an early example evoking a day in his adored and long dead grandmother s itchen watching in anticipation while she prepares for him a specially purchased steak Girlfriends catching him on the first turn into puberty portrays with the very sweetest poignancy the
of a first iss not the dreamed of and lusted after Valerie or Nathalie but the reality of Fat Frenzi the leftover girl at a crowded party and the only but still somehow ideal fit for a leftover boy and savouring the crystallised fruit scent of her breath inhaling the flavours of her neck her cheeks her mouth Cabbage the odour of overcooked poverty the stench of rooms never aired accounts for a lot of his youth a relentless but always relished part of his diet Coal remembers the dirty faced delivery men and how the dark heavy smoke trickles from all the chimneys in the town and laments the shift toward central heating for all that has been lost The anxiety of the insecure and underdeveloped finds its voice in Communal showers and the fusty stench of dampness that defines a post football changing room while a mother s concerns ensure that days spent basking on hot riverbanks are haunted by the reek of Ambre solaire in SuntanEXCITEMENT OF A FIRST KISS NOT
lotion And in the sad lovely Sleeping Child Claudel recalls how it was to stand inAnd in the sad lovely Sleeping Child Claudel recalls how it was to stand in room and watch while his young daughter slumbered among dreams breathing the most natural of fragrances finding life at its earliest stage but even in the moment recognising childhood s fleeting nature Parfums shouldn t work except in the most casual fashion yet while each piece stands a morsel in itself the gentle but persuasive intensity of the writing the poetic succulence of prose alive with description and with its own irresistible rhythms ensures an accumulation that builds to a rare and endearing grandiosity something considerably greater than the sum of its parts And in philosophising beyond the nature of memory by incorporating thoughts of ageing and even an eventual end this latter uoted vignette in particular captures some of the essence of what gives this unusual book its real depth It reads easily and echoes with sensual pleasure but one of the subtle flavours within the sentences is a gentle melancholia which results in an inescapable emphasis placed on what the past has taken what changes Time has inflicted I love it when I arrive home at the end of the day just to find a new book waiting for me on the table An unknown book One which is wrapped in shiny colourful wrapping paper I like the excitement of it and I can t hardly wait to unwrap it and see its title I love it when it is a little book like this one somebody else loved and now he gives it to me as a present because he wants to now if I feel the same about it I love when a writer shares personal feelings and memories when literature is able to jump the gap of time and nationalities and you acknowledge however different our lives are we feel alike I love when a book makes me smile from beginning to end because I can see myself reflected Sometimes I love a book which is not about the story but about words about how beautiful they are and the words they can create Through those words you sense the smells the author relives envision their location and enjoy the memories they bring back This book is a little treasure If not for everybody at least it is for me A feast for the senses Short Stories of Olfactory Experience set in the LORRAINE FranceA Catalogue of Remembered SmellsSo often the visual and audio responses are the ones that appear in the arts the superior ones but just as effective though personal is the sense of smell The human sense of smell can often permeate deeply into the human unconscious brain so than the other two And it is this underrated and under explored sense of smell around which the author sets his storiesImagine the bucolic landsca This catalogue of 61 remembered smells from the author of Broderick s Report is a
wistful and sincere slice of page turning literary gateaux at once observational and autobiographical Claudel s smells range from theand sincere slice of page turning literary gateaux at once observational and autobiographical Claudel s smells range from the Cabbage A sort of identity card of wretchedness to pongs Pissoti res I would come across a certain ind of mirror that didn t distort much I would learn who I was to the homely Clean sheets a vulnerable creature who nows. Jn zussen In de loop van het boek ontstaat een landschap van naaldbomen beekjes en akkers van zwarte aarde Een wereld van eenvoudige oprechte mensen die sterven in het bed waar ze geboren zijn Met dit boek brengt Claudel hun een eerbetoon maar daarnaast vertelt hij voor het eerst en 'ondanks zichzelf' over zichze.
Philippe Claudel ´ 5 SummaryHis old fashioned library deep in silence among the absent faces of my and their listless intoxicated by the remugle the mustiness for that is the name of the smell of old books as I learned much later that I entered a realm that of fiction and its myriad paths that I have never really left I resemble books I reside in books They are the place I inhabit both as reader and author and which best define me Belles lettresThe first thing I should say about this collection is that it is not a novel so if you are looking for another Petite fille de Monsieur Linh or Rapport de Brodeck look elsewhere The second should be no surprise it is very well written But it is in a genre you hardly see any over here but that still seems to delight French publishers especially if the author is an academician belles lettres Parfums is a collection of 63 short essays each a single paragraph around two pages long mostly with one word titles arranged in alphabetical order Acacia A l Alambic Amoureuses Apr s rasage Boum Brouillard Cannabis Terre Tilleul Torr faction Tourterele Viellesse VoyageAcacia garlic alembic lovers aftershave boom fog cannabis earth lime flowers roasting turtledove old age travelMy translations are crude of course and lack the evocative uality of most of the French titles Because that s what the book is all about the evocation of memory mostly from an atmosphere aroma or flavor The best one word English translation would probably be Scents literally so but also in the sense of a detective on the scent of a buried truthFor all these scents take the author back into his past mostly as a young child or adolescent Sometimes the journey back in time is total as when the smell of Mennen aftershave returns him to the morning arms of his father a normally undemonstrative man Sometimes the past is seen through the eye of maturity as when the half forgotten smell of the coal that was regularly delivered to their cellars is now when he smells it again only associated with poverty Sometimes the two are combined as in the section on old age where the special aromas of old ladies that the young child always notices are now combined with an understanding what it is to grow old and dieOther than that scrap of index I offer no translations This is partly because the reading of these almost poems is a lot challenging than narrative prose where at least you have the context to help you along Partly too because finding le mot juste even when the word is unfamiliar is largely the point of the exercise But for those that read French I would like to end with a longish excerpt from the final page in which Claudel talks of his fondness for visiting foreign markets This beautiful passage is both a distillation of the entire book and a statement of its aims Le march car j y sens l me d une terre et la peau des
hommes le fruit de leur travail dans un tourdissant m lange d odeurs effroyables etle fruit de leur travail dans un tourdissant m lange d odeurs effroyables et licieuses de graisse cru ou grill e de citronelle de coriandre coup e grossi rement aux ciseaux de fiente d oiseaux captifs de viandes fades fra chement tu es de jasmin de peaux tann es de soufre de cannelle de p tales de roses et de boyaux d amandes fra ches ou grill es de camphre d ther et de miel de saucisses et de menthe de lil Some people let s go ahead and say most people get excited over awaiting the newest Star Wars What you you healthy soul felt when you finally plopped your posterior down into a warm seat in a packed theater and watched that spacey opening crawl that is the closest comparison I can make to the delight I felt when I finally got my hands on an English translation o Claudel is such a great storyteller Sometimes it made me think it was one of my memories Those readers familiar with Philippe Claudel s work will find his latest offering Parfums uite a departure Ostensibly a memoir or perhaps accurately a patchwork gathering of memories and with
*no uarter given to chronology the author offers sixty three vignettes each one a single *uarter given to chronology the author offers sixty three vignettes each one a single one or two page paragraph fixating on some olfactory stimulant sometimes in a specific way on other occasions almost incidentallySubtitled A Catalogue of Remembered Smells the vignettes at their best astonish in their ability to attack the senses In the tradition if not the style of Proust s madeleine a scent triggers an explosion of memory and brings to life again. R stuk roepen ze een vergeten wereld op waar nog flarden van bestaan zoete en bittere geuren soms eenvoudig soms complex Als nooit tevoren beschrijft Philippe Claudel zijn wortels de streek rondom Nancy waar hij vandaan omt het stadje Dombasle sur Meurthe waar hij geboren is en nog altijd woont zijn ouders en zi. Philippe Claudel is a French writer and film maker While
I Ve Yet To Read Any Of Claudel S Novelsve yet to read any of Claudel s novels include Brodeck s Report and Grey Souls I am familiar with I ve Loved You So Long a film he wrote and directed in 2010 It features a standout performance from Kristin Scott Thomas as a woman struggling to adjust to a new phase in her life following an extended period of alienation from her family and society So when Claudel s memoir Parfums A Catalogue of Remembered Smells dropped through my letterbox I was een to give it a whirlThis beautifully written memoir consists of sixty three vignettes each of which captures a scene or two from Claudel s life and it reads like a collection of memories each one evoked by a certain smell The title of each vignette represents the aroma concerned and the topics range from floral Acacia to animal Fried Bacon to mineral Pink Sandstone Other smells capture places Ironmonger or particular stages in Claudel s life Gym for example reflects the author s memories of the school gymnasium where young boys and girls brush up against one another and the odours of teenage hormones and feet mingle with the whiff of rubber matsMany of the vignettes focus on memories from Claudel s childhood These are mostly happy times which convey images of Claudel cycling through the countryside of Lorraine in north east France fishing in the local river and picnicking in the forests of the Vosges In Garlic one of my favourites from the memoir Claudel s Grandm re cooks a steak for Philippe It feels like an early memory possibly one that captures the young boy s first taste of steak as his feet fail to reach the ground when he sits at the itchen table It s a wonderful scene so vividly realised that the reader can almost smell the cubes of garlic as they diffuse their intangible miracle over the hot golden meat The naked clove of the garlic resembles the canine tooth of a big cat and the weapon used for the crime chisels out of it tiny pearly slighly greasy cubes that scarcely have time to give off their aromas because my grandmother throws them promptly into the dented black frying pan over the steak that is already sizzling Explosion Smoke from a blacksmith
*s forge eyes smarting the itchen of the *forge Eyes smarting The itchen of the house at 18 rue des Champs Fleury disappears in billows of fumes My mouth waters The smell of garlic of burning butter of blood and fluids is converted into a delicious juice from the meat as it merges with the melting fat Hollow with hunger I wait pgs 13 14Like life itself Claudel s memories vary in tone with some vignettes capturing darker memories In Cellar he recalls visiting The Aunts from Saint Blaise a trio of spinsters who live together in a large house complete with a dark dank cellar Clearly a frightening place for a young boyI step onto earth that you would think had been turned over by a gravedigger s shovel The cavern discharges its deep pit like breath over me heavy clinging seeped in clay and mud I shiver I stop moving I try to remain in the abyss for as long as possible My heart a small caged animal thumps against its fleshy bars The cellar attempts to enchant me with its whiff of must and saltpetre of muffled condensation a siren from the depths with a night time iss that oppresses me and winds itself around me pg 35To read the rest of my review please click here I m 10 years old The present is a sumptuous giftI don t even now where to beginIt was a magnificent journey reading this beautiful piece and I can surely say it is now amongst my favorite books Even though it might sound like an overstatement but I don t think I can look at the world around me the way I used to I feel that something in my perception has been roused and it is not a coincidence I felt it after reading this memoir this ode to the world of smells and perfumes It was astounding and inspiring how the author is able to find beauty in so many simple plain things Not all of them are "pleasant However it is not those things that are important It is "However it is not those things that are important It is sensations regarding them Mr Claudel has an extraordinary ability to awaken those sensations and at times I didn t now how to handle them the experience was profound Therefore I took my time with this one savoring every smell memory and thought As with fragrances you cannot perceive than three of four at onceThis one s from MustinessNo doubt it was here in Vaders aftershave moeders zonnebrand het zijdeachtige haar van zijn eerste geliefde Gauloises en Gitanes Deutschlandreise kaneel voor op de taart en in de glühweinooltjes om je warm te houden inktpotten op school hooi op de velden de trui van een oom In 63 teksten beschrijft Claudel evenzoveel geuren uit zijn verleden Stuk voo.