Pub Date: September 13, 2023

Author: Paola Totaro, Robert Wainright

The American Edition • First published in the UK by Elliott & Thompson


Your sense of smell is a fundamental part of life as most of us know it.

So what happens when it disappears?

When Paola Totaro lost her sense of smell to Covid in March 2020, she found herself trapped in a sensory vacuum. In a quest for answers, she embarked on a journey of discovery to unravel the mysteries –and eccentricities – of the fifth sense.

From the theories of ancient philosophers to the cutting-edge laboratories of 21st-century neuroscience, On the Scent explores the mysteries of our ʻCinderellaʼ sense. It offers a unique glimpse into the world of those born without smell as well as those who lose it; exploring how smell can be a key indicator of declining physical health; and offering up the latest research that can offer hope to the millions of people worldwide who have suffered sensory loss.


“Enthralling, moving, and elegantly written.”

—Peter Godfrey-Smith, author of Other Minds


“An engaging read . . . packed with insights and observations that bring this topic to life for everyone.”

—Professor Barry Smith, Centre for the Study of the Senses


“Destined to be a bible for anyone who has lost their sense of smell.” —Chrissi Kelly, AbScent


“This book will profoundly change the way you think about your ability to smell and how its loss affects our lives.”

—Fiona Fox, Director of the Science and Media Centre and author of Beyond the Hype