“At the far edge of his adopted country, Sadakichi had been within an ocean’s reach of the completed circle of his life, the twinkling lights of Japan, his birthplace, seemingly visible just beyond the Pacific Coast Highway. He had tried to make the leap back home just once, more than forty years before, in one of the most fateful and humiliating performances of his life. For years, he had in his mind a scent—no, less than that, an idea of a scent—a gentle puff, released into the cool night air. It would melt continents, allowing him to cross vast oceans like a fast skull across a glassy lake. He called this scent his “perfume concert,” the most purely aesthetic experience of his self-proclaimed aesthetic life. And it would deliver him home.
If beauty was difficult, then by god Sadakichi Hartmann would make his entire life beautiful—he would wallow in its difficulty.”
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