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  • Writer's pictureRaji Writes

"The Perfumist of Paris" by Alka Joshi -- a Kepler's Books Event

Updated: May 16, 2023

The Henna Artist was released just when the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began, and author Alka Joshi's book events switched to a virtual format. You can read my review here.

The second book in The Jaipur Trilogy, The Secret Keeper of Jaipur, was also presented at a virtual event by Kepler's, where the wonderful Angie Coiro once again spoke with the author.

Three years into the pandemic, Alka Joshi finally had her in-person event at Kepler's Books in Menlo Park, on March 29, 2023. Introduced by Angie Coiro of Kepler's, Joshi spoke with author Devi Laskar about The Perfumist of Paris, the third book in The Jaipur Trilogy. She was engaging, animated, gracious and entertaining.

The Perfumist of Paris tells the story of henna artist Lakshmi Shastri's younger sister Radha, who has been living in Paris for ten years with her French husband Pierre and two young daughters Shanti and Asha. With her keen nose for scents and talent for creative mixing, Radha shines in the world of fragrances. Her memory of the scents she grew up with in India aids her professional journey in the exclusive French perfume houses. Joshi introduces us to the lovely fragrances of vetiver, jasmine, rose, and mitti attar, and evokes feelings of wonder and nostalgia as she describes how perfumes are made, in India and in other parts of the world.

Joshi spoke of the research she did for this book, visiting fragrance labs and meeting master perfumers in Paris, Grasse and Lisbon. Perfumery is chemistry, she said -- master perfumers memorize some 3000 scents.

An unexpected bonus of attending the event was that in addition to the book which I purchased for the event, I received a lovely pack of perfume by LilaNur, an Indian perfume house. It has 8 samplers, of which I have tried a few. Gul Rouge, (Red Rose) with rose damascena, is divine, and my favorite so far.

Like the two books before it, The Perfumist is an enjoyable read.

And what's more, we have a Netflix series to look forward to, starring Freida Pinto!

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