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From the critically acclaimed author of Bright Lines comes a brilliant and expansive collection of meditations on the history of South Asia through the lens of our most primordial yet sense: scent.
At once memoir and reckoning, In Sensorium interlaces memories of childhood in the South, Midwest and New York with a universe of memories and scent—a sensorium—while offering a critical, alternate history of South Asia from a Bangladeshi Muslim femme perspective. At the heart of this work is an interrogation of the ancient violence of caste, rape culture, patriarchy, war, and the inherited ancestral trauma of being from a verdant land constantly denuded and extracted, a land still threatened and disappearing because of colonization, capitalism, and climate change. In Sensorium examines how fragrance has been used to demarcate who is civilized and who is barbaric, who is pure and who is polluted, who is free and who is damned.
Weaving together eons of South Asian perfume history, erotic and religious texts, survivor testimonies, and material culture with Tanaïs’s personal history, In Sensorium
is archive and art, illuminating the great crises of our time with the language of resistance.
About the Author
TANAÏS is a perfumer and author of the critically acclaimed novel Bright Lines, which was a finalist for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Edmund White Debut Fiction Award, and the Brooklyn Eagles Literary Prize. They have written for Elle, VICE, New York Magazine, Literary Hub, Catapult and them. They are a graduate of Vassar College and Brooklyn College MFA, and the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell Colony, the American India Foundation and Voices of Our Nations. Over the course of their career, they have worked as a community organizer, domestic violence court advocate, probation intake officer, and taught arts in New York City high schools. In 2014, they began studying perfumery, eventually starting a successful independent beauty and fragrance brand, the acclaimed Hi Wildflower. Recently, they launched a podcast and perfume anthology called MALA: Blooms & Bad Women. They live in Brooklyn.