The Scents of Marie-Claire by Habib Selmi

The Scents of Marie-Claire

Habib Selmi

This is an intimate and revealing portrayal of the passionate relationship between Tunisian-born narrator Mahfouthe and his French lover, Marie-Claire. Such is the sensuality and intimacy of this Parisian tale, that at times, I felt like an intruder, spying upon their fragile love affair. Yet as their love slowly turns to jealousy, and is ultimately destroyed, a strong hold prevented me from looking the other way.

Extract

Her pillow was now directly over my nose. It had a strong aroma, part perfume, part sweat: the scent of a sleeping woman, delicious and intoxicating. It added to the feeling of exhilaration enveloping me. I passed my nose slowly over the pillow, looking for the point where the aroma was concentrated. I pressed the pillow a little with my left hand so that it would not slip, and I started sniffing it as I felt her place, which was still warm, with the fingers of my other hand.

Parallels
  • The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
  • Lady Chatterley's Lover by D H Lawrence