Saturday, October 2, 2010

The sense of smell in literature

From A High Wind in Jamaica:
Presently Margaret said:

"So that's that."

No one answered.

"I could smell it was an Earthquake coming when I got up. Didn't I say so, Emily?"

"You and your smells!" said Jimmie Fernandez. "You're always smelling things!"

"She's awfully good at smells," said the youngest, Harry, proudly, to John. "She can sort out people's dirty clothes for the wash by smell: who they belong to."

"She can't really," said Jimmie: "she fakes it. As if everyone smelt different!"

"I can!"

"Dogs can, anyway," said John.

Emily said nothing. Of course people smelt different: it didn't need arguing. She could always tell her own towel from John's, for instance: or even knew if one of the others had used it. But it just showed what sort of people Creoles were, to talk about Smell, in that open way.


  1. i read about a third of this before i had to turn it back in to the library. (that's why libraries and i don't get along well.)

  2. You couldn't renew? Had someone else requested it?

  3. This book is so good! I want to teach it in some class some day.