So far it's not been a good year for the roses, but on Saturday I found one each on five bushes and brought them into the house where they manage to act as a sweet-smelling air freshener (unlike the aerosol sort, the smell of which made me feel so ill when I was pregnant that I still feel nauseous whenever it's sprayed).
Last week I read Heat Lightning and enjoyed it immensely for many reasons, but was particularly struck by the careful descriptions of smells and fragrances it contains. There's the regular refrain of pickling with 'heavy clove, allspice...and heated vinegar', the scents of flowers such as 'spicy pinks', and the aromas of the 'outer air'. The book has a stillness, an atmosphere of its own which is beautifully evoked in passages such as this: "The room, with the door closed, grew warm... One by one, like timid mice, queer odors crept out and in the stillness of the air, gained boldness. Camphor balls, a hint of lavender, the dry, stuffy smell of matting, dust and oil from the sewing machine, even the rotting leaethr of its treadle strap, lavender again. Amy thought: it's like a spell. They live here, and if I move too quickly, I'll frighten them into hiding."
With a few exceptions such as Proust, Dickens, and Charlotte's Web by EB White which contains an abundance, there's a dearth of smells, good and bad, in literature. I don't know why when there are so many colours, textures, sounds and tastes, but it's amazing how much smells, pongs, stinks, fragrances and aromas can add to and enhance the fictional world you are creating in your head as you read.