| Diwan Special issue|

Pavle Goranović

Born in 1973 in Nikšić (Montenegro), lives in Nikšić (Montenegro).


For every book there is a smell, a smell that is level with the meaning, or the first impression of the book. Then what is the smell of books on dusty shelves, in forgotten house libraries, unprofitable book shops of the capital? What do books of Nobel laureates smell like?

Books of old masters smell of parchment, of those pages that have disappeared - maybe they will be gone when we open the pale covers. Their books come down to yellow pages. The books of sribomaniacs smell of the toil of printing workers. At workers’ universities - books don’t have smells, they are usually red and untouched.

What do books of my friends smell like? What is the smell of world best-sellers, cookbooks, manuals, instructions for better concentration? (I don’t like books that give off the smell of smoke: vices have been mixed into them). What do holy books smell like, in holy languages of the world? What about the ones in extinct languages? The books of pagans face the sun, that is why they lose their characteristics when we approach them.

No smell is harmless. The ownership of a book lover does not resemble any smell, any book for that matter. Abandoned books in offices smell like old painting canvases.

The strangest smell is that of books in the Argentine National Library, especially of those published after 1995. I don’t know what books of prisoners smell of, probably of damp walls and the past. What do collected classical works smell like? What is the smell of books that were returned to Knut Hamsun? His books what do they smell like?

I cherish the smell of one book, precious like the knowledge of German.

Translated by Ulvija Tanović


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