"A travelogue through the international perfume industry, ‘one of the most insular, glamorous, strange, paranoid, idiosyncratic, irrational, and lucrative of worlds.’ A thorough and often hilarious account of perfumery's colorful characters, the science and art of fragrance creation and the human experience of scent itself."
When The New Yorker magazine sent Burr to Paris to do a story on the creation of a new perfume for Hermès, he began what would become a year of reporting on perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s creation of Un Jardin sur le Nil (A Garden on the Nile). Burr was given complete internal access to watch the process as Ellena built his scent, which would be launched on the $60 billion perfume market. Such access had never been granted. At roughly the same time, The New York Times assigned Burr to profile actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s creative direction of her perfume Lovely for the giant American licensee Coty, Inc.—a role Parker was approaching with a mixture of excitement and fear as she entered this risky, brutally competitive world. Parker and Coty also granted Burr complete access, and The Perfect Scent is Burr's behind-the-scenes report, two intertwined stories of two utterly different fragrances created in New York and Paris in the secretive, high-pressure, and virtually unknown world of the scent industry.
"The Emperor of Scent is a gem of a book - a suspense story about a man of super-human powers, justifiably arrogant, dangerously steeped in hubris, and a real-life hero. I tumbled into this story, immediately engrossed, and fell in love with Luca Turin, irreverent, witty, imaginative, determined, elitist without a trace of snobbery, and above all a creative genius. Chandler Burr is a magician himself. He strikes me as a man we should all be so lucky to have at a dinner party, weaving perfect asides (the story of Mrs. Rippard's strange smell disease and the molecular structure of Chanel 5 and L'Air du Temps) into this incredible cautionary tale for all who assume the scientific world exists in a sterile vacuum of indisputable test results."
- Alexandra Fuller, author of Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
"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, author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
“You Or Someone Like You is a pitch-perfect, often very funny novel about why, in this crazy world, we still bother to read. It’s for anyone who defiantly clings to the belief that a book can change our lives.”
- David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl
"This is a wonderful novel; interesting, courageous and powerfully written.... Burr's treatment of the issues of self-identity, essentialism and the intimate troubles they cause is more powerful than Zadie Smith's in On Beauty.... Anne Rosenbaum is one of the strongest and smartest woman characters, both as she is written and who she is, that I have encountered in recent literature…."
- John Mullen, professor emeritus of philosophy, author of Kierkegaard's Philosophy: Self-Deception and Cowardice in the Present Age
“Smart, literate, and humane, Chandler Burr’s debut novel deftly melds an entertaining tour through a Who’s Who of Hollywood and the culture of the moment with an original investigation into the timeless themes of great literature and the painful, private fault lines of deep marital love. In the process, he creates a heroine that few readers will forget.”
- John Burnham Schwartz, author of The Commoner and Reservation Road
“Suggests the literary scope of Harold Bloom and the thematic concerns of Bernard Malamud [in] Anne’s belief that exclusionary ethnic, racial and religious pride can be a form of bigotry....”
-Steven Zeitchik, The Wall Street Journal