Books, Photos, Movies, DVDs & Art The Fragrance of Grass

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    I have just finished reading The Fragrance of Grass by Guy de la Valdene and while it is not about fishing, I thought it got so close to the essence of the things we love about fishing that you might forgive me for writing about it here.
    Fragrance of Grass is a hunting memoir, made up of a series of short stories starting with Valdene as a 12 year old in France, and finishing with stories of his hunting life now—in the US as a man in his late 60’s.
    I don’t hunt, but the sort of hunting and intimate connection with the landscape of hunting described by Valdene is so close to what I love about fly fishing that I devoured it as I would a very good book on fly fishing. The stories are laced with thoughtful insights that can only come from a deep and long immersion in the natural world. He describes landscapes, dogs, places and people—and perhaps because he from France, he write memorably of food and women also.

    Fishermen who have been around for a few years, and have any sense of recall, understand the ebb of the environment in which we pursue our quarry. Valdene echoes this sad change in the habitat of birds, and laments the loss of the birds he loved from much of Europe.

    He also provides a chronicle of changing attitudes, both personal and within society, towards hunting and killing of animals. His stories capture a change in his position towards life, death and the place of man in the universe of living things that will resonate with many who fish. I am not much younger than Valdene, and detect these changes in myself as my own mortality becomes as crisp and clear as an autumn day. A deep immersion in the natural world and increasing age can do that to you.

    I thought it worth writing about this book in a fly fishing forum because Valdene has some serious fly fishing credentials. Almost forty years ago he directed the documentary "Tarpon." His friend Tom McGuane featured in that movie, and he features in this book as a horseman and fellow hunter of birds. The stories in the book are right up there with those written by McGuane on fly fishing which is really saying something.

    The book is beautifully produced, with a typically evocative cover illustration by Russell Chatham. It is the kind of book you want to hold and feel—not one to be quickly loaded to an e reader to be consumed like some fast food.



    Nice review Dougal, sounds like a good read, will look out for it.




    On the -To Buy- list, thanks Dougal.

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