On Lavender and Longing: André Aciman's ALIBIS

Jericho Parms

In her 1990 A Natural History of the Senses, a grand tour through the luscious world of sight, sound, taste, and touch, Diane Ackerman wrote of the many writers “gloriously attuned” to that oddly powerful sense of smell. Among them, Proust held an affinity for lime-flower tea and madeleines, Woolf ruminated her “parade of city-smells,” Coleridge pondered the aroma of notebooks, Milosz mused on the freshness of his linen closet, Joyce recalled childhood odors of urine and oilcloths, and Flaubert recounted of the fragrance of his lover’s slippers.


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