"Luca Turin was born with an uncannily powerful nose, able to distinguish the components of any scent, from the world's most refined perfumes to the air on the New York subways. A scientist, he kept his powers to himself, concentrating on other fields. But when, for the love of it, he began to write reviews of fragrances, and those reviews took the world by storm, everything changed. The secret world of scent creation opened up, and Turin discovered something astonishing- No one understands how our noses work. Billions and billions of dollars are spent creating the scents all around us in a manner that amounts to a glorified trial and error. The solution to the mystery of every other human sense had led to a Nobel Prize. Why should smell be any different? Turin has given his life to this great riddle. And in the end, incredibly, after an epic struggle, he solved it. Then things got really interesting . Chandler Burr tells the extraordinary story of Luca Turin, his incredible sense of smell and his battles with the scientific establishment in as a remarkable quirky a tale of obsession as Susan Orlean's bestseller THE ORCHID THIEF.
"The Emperor of Scent is a gem of a book- I was mesmerised and enlightened by the many perfect asides woven into the main body of this incredible true tale." -- Alexandra Fuller
"With the contagious enthusiasm of a nerd given the run of a chemistry lab, he has transformed a chance meeting with a curious biophysicist named Luca Turin into an amusing and poetic adventure in science and art." * Washington Post *
"Ebullient- a book that celebrates the randomness and arbitrariness of discovery while also translating complex science into the colloquial- as its title indicates, The Emperor of Scent presents a larger-than-life autocrat and his interesting, engaging eccentricities-an inspired, exhilarating view of idiosyncratic science" * New York Times *
"Fascinating and lucid- the details of Turin's work unfold like a revelation. For his part, Burr does a fine job of turning both the science and the academic jockeying around a possible publication in Nature into a pulse-racing affair." * New Yorker *
"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