Book Scents: From A.S. Byatt’s Possession
I’m deep in reading and writing mode today, revving up for new projects (I hope) but I wanted to pause just long enough to share this passage from A.S. Byatt’s Possession which I am convinced, for today, is one of the best literary uses of smell I’ve seen. Much of its impact, as is always true of a story (or a smell), comes from the context–it appears at the end of the story and Byatt has been carefully introducing images of Eden and knowledge and apples and trees and storms and birth and destruction for the previous 551 pages. But I think it is very beautiful all on its own, too. And maybe not completely irrelevant to recent events.
“In the morning, the whole world had a strange new smell. It was the smell of the aftermath, a green smell, a smell of shredded leaves and oozing resin, of crushed wood and splashed sap, a tart smell, which bore some relation to the smell of bitten apples. It was the smell of death and destruction and it smelled fresh and lively and hopeful.”