For as long as anyone can remember, a man named Luca Turin has had an uncanny relationship with smells. He has been compared to the hero of Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume, but his story is in fact stranger, because it is true. It concerns how he made use of his powerful gifts to solve one of the last great mysteries of the human body: how our noses work.
Luca Turin can distinguish the components of just about any smell, from the world’s most refined perfumes to the air in a subway car on the Paris metro. A distinguished scientist, he once worked in an unrelated field, though he made a hobby of collecting fragrances. But when, as a lark, he published a collection of his reviews of the world’s perfumes, the book hit the small, insular business of perfume makers like a thunderclap. Who is this man Luca Turin, they demanded, and how does he know so much? The closed community of scent creation opened up to Luca Turin, and he discovered a fact that astonished him: no one in this world knew how smell worked. Billions and billions of dollars were spent creating scents in a manner amounting to glorified trial and error.
The solution to the mystery of every other human sense has led to the Nobel Prize, if not vast riches. Why, Luca Turin thought, should smell be any different? So he gave his life to this great puzzle. And in the end, incredibly, it would seem that he solved it. But when enormously powerful interests are threatened and great reputations are at stake, Luca Turin learned, nothing is quite what it seems.
Acclaimed writer Chandler Burr has spent four years chronicling Luca Turin’s quest to unravel the mystery of how our sense of smell works. What has emerged is an enthralling, magical book that changes the way we think about that area between our mouth and our eyes, and its profound, secret hold on our lives.
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"A brilliant, feisty scientist at the center of a nasty, back-stabbing, utterly absorbing, cliff-hanging scramble for the Nobel Prize. The Emperor of Scent is a quirky, wonderful book."
-John Berendt, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
"Professional perfume critic, obsessive collector of rare fragrances, academic-bad-boy biochemist and world-class eccentric, Luca Turin would be the worthy subject of a book even if he hadn't come up with a revolutionary scientific theory. Written with skill and verve, The Emperor of Scent is an engrossing intellectual detective story about one iconoclast's quest to solve a centuries-old mystery--how smell works."
-Miles Harvey, author of The Island of Lost Maps
"The Emperor of Scent is a gem of a book--a suspense story at whose heart is a man of super-human powers who is also flawed and justifiably arrogant and dangerously steeped in hubris. I challenge any intelligent, curious mind not to tumble into this story and find themselves immediately engrossed. I fell in love with Luca Turin--he is everything I admire in a human: irreverent, witty, imaginative, determined, elitist without a trace of snobbery and above all a creative genius. And Chandler Burr is a magician himself, and a man we should all be so lucky to have at a dinner party: I was mesmerized and enlightened by the many perfect asides woven into the main body of this incredible true tale."
-Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Chandler Burr is the author of A Separate Creation: The Search for the Biological Origins of Sexual Orientation. He has contributed to The Atlantic and has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and other publications.
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Book Description Random House, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # mon0000176818
Book Description Random House, New York, 2002. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition stated 2002, first printing . Hardcover with DJ. Condition new, square tight and crisp book, sharp corners, no edgewear, no names no underlinings no highlights, no bent page corners, not a reminder. DJ new, bright and shiny, no tears no chips no edgewear, price not clipped. 8vo, 336 pages, index. Bookseller Inventory # 015998
Book Description Random House. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0375507973. Bookseller Inventory # 3ANDREWSCD148
Book Description Random House, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0375507973
Book Description Random House, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0375507973
Book Description Random House, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110375507973
Book Description Random House, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Brand New!. Bookseller Inventory # VIB0375507973