The Scent Of The Others

One is different from another, yet we smell like one another.

The Scent of the Others tell the stories of eight people in eight short stories. However, as the pages turn these stories connect to each other.

Zeynep, the main character in the first story, is amidst a life crisis. She’s lost some of her loved ones and gone through a divorce. She has lost the meaning of life and is looking for an exit. She attempts to commit suicide, however a friend rescues her. The nurse who takes care of her at the hospital is the main character of the second story. Sureyya is the perfect nurse, but at heart she feels that she is a writer. She’s read a lot of romance novels growing up, and now she wants to write one. She forgets her notebook filled with notes on the ferry coming back from work one day, and Melis, the heroine of the third story finds it. Melis is a journalist, but couldn’t find the work she’s been desiring as of yet. In the meantime she’s working at a jewelry magazine. One day she goes for an interview to someone who is famous with her jewelry which she’d inherited from one of the Ottoman pasha’s wife. The fourth story belongs to that wife, Fecir.

The next four stories are told by the men who are in these women’s lives. They tell their own stories as well as they tell the women’s from their perspectives.

The writer of many famous scenarios, Meral Okay, explains The Scent of the Others like this:

“The book started as short stories. A short, simple story, but then that circle enlargened effecting its surroundings. Chain accidents happened between characters. Time and place changed in this spiral circle. Then I realized every story was the basis for the next one, and these seemingly small details in life became big tragedies.”

“When I woke up with the ringing of the phone at dawn two years ago I was having the best sleep of the past five days. The chain of sleepless nights before that day were a nightmare, a cruel punishment. I usually have two reasons for not being able to sleep; a burdened conscience or anger. If I could find the reason for the anger that lies in me like a snake which is always ready to bite, then I might be able to find the solution; but unfortunately, to do it is not as easy as saying it.
The worst thing is since the day I learned to keep that anger, which I’d laid on others yelling or ruining their days, once inside, I started to turn my own life into hell.”

“Even though I love being alone, that I don’t have to fix breakfast or dinner, that I can come home whenever I want and see whomever I want, I think I still wouldn’t prefer to be alone. I wake up with a deep sense of loneliness every morning. I feel like I wake up to an unnecessary day. When I come home at the end of the night I want to turn on the TV. The silence in the house makes me feel uneasy. There are no more cafes or bars to go to, and friends start to irritate you. Eating alone is the worst. You lose your appetite. You start having salad or fruit or even worse, a cup of yogurt for dinner. You become more silent and distant. Distant to yourself…”

“I don’t know why but people tend to blame you if life is really hard on you or when you have painful times more than once. You must have done something wrong somewhere, they think. Don’t they say behind people who die suffering a lot: “She really had bad karma.”

“My favorite poet is Nazim Hikmet; not only for dozens of beautiful poems he wrote, for a line he has written. People who travel between Istanbul and Ankara would know; the train enters a city all of a sudden when it is going through mountains and the valleys. You wouldn’t understand where that city came from. That city is Izmit. Since these would be the only people you had seen in a long time you’d look out of the window. You’d think that everybody would turn around and look at you, but Izmit people who see a lot of trains passing by wouldn’t look at you. You’d be disappointed. Well, Nazim Hikmet wrote this great line to tell this feeling: ‘The train entered the city and lost its gravity.’ ”

“Fate; that mean, ill-tempered fate; it’s not enough that it would take your most beloved toy away and tear it into pieces, it would give you hope again too. We’re all puppets in its hands, we go whichever direction it pulls us. Maybe some people won’t be tricked, maybe those who are as tough as fate. But for someone like me, who is lonely and hopeless, there’s no other way but to surrender to that traitor.”

“I know you have no energy to deal with me, because you are still trying to find yourself. You are still trying to solve the basic problems like being free, being your absolute self. I have nothing to say to that, and I have sympathy for you; but I have two things to say to you: One, I’ll just sit there and wait till you find the answer. I’m not going to help you or stand in your way. And two, when you see one day that it’s not worth the fight, you cannot change anything and it is the biggest chance even to be able to grab happiness by yourself I’ll be right here with you.”