Keith Scribner’s new novel, The Oregon Experiment, opens with a what you might call a beautiful, wafting description of the smell of mint. This is one thing he admits comes directly from his own experience, since he remembers that smell when he first drove into Oregon. Even though smell is strongly tied to memory, it’s a sense we don’t necessarily think too much about. For Scribner’s main character, Naomi, nothing could be farther from the truth. She’s totally identified with her sense of smell. As Scribner himself described it on the post of the original broadcast:
[H]er sense of smell is fundamental to her engagement with the world — as important to her as her eyesight — so her life collapses when she loses her nose.
Scribner teaches at Oregon State University, but this is his first novel set in Oregon.
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OPB | Feb. 22, 2017