The Book of Lost Fragrances – M.J. Rose

I enjoyed this book a great deal. I have a more than passing – okay, voracious – interest in all things mythological and specifically archetypal, this spoke directly to one of my passions. However, that is not by any means the subject of this work. Rose manages to incorporate mythology, psychology, reincarnation, Chinese politics, Tibetan history, the Chinese Mafia in places as far-flung as Paris, along with the science of perfumery, archaeology and metaphysical exploration into one surprisingly coherent whole.

For those of you who cannot stand a story without a love story – it’s there. If you want a thriller – it’s there. If you want history, ancient and more contemporary – it’s there. So is science and a host of other issues that all wind around each other to create one of those intricate Chinese decorative knots, each strand necessary and holding together the whole.

Towards the end, I began to wonder about why not as background had been given for one character in particular, and why two other past-life memory aids kept being mentioned. It finally occurred to me that the author had a previous book entitled The Reincarnationist, and that is the term used to describe the troubling character. I need to do a bit of digging, but I bet he showed up in some of her earlier work. Rest assured, however, this book can and does stand on its own quite well.  You might even want to go back to some of those earlier works!

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