Synopses & Reviews
An ode to one man's enduring love affair with hunting, The Fragrance of Grass
stands as a testament to Guy de la Valdene's deep affection for and abiding respect of the natural work and all its inhabitants. Set in places as far afield as France and Montana, Saskatchewan and Florida, this beautifully written memoir is a treatise on dogs, birds, and wildlife; food, wine, and women.
The Fragrance of Grass is suffused with la Valdene's appreciation for and understanding of natural history along with his vast knowledge of centuries-old hunting traditions. It is a walk through the decades of memories of fields and birds, friends and dogs that will be treasured by all true sportsmen.
“Guy de la Valdenes memoir, The Fragrance of Grass, soars like a condor high above the arid landscape of our eras largely flimsy, narrow and shallow sporting books. It is an extraordinary stew of poignant reflections, deeply felt sentiment and sensitive introspection having equal measures of pride and regret. Time and again there is demonstrated a fearless willingness to stare deeply into the human conscience while the whole is sewn together with absolutely impeccable language. In my view, this may well be the defining masterpiece of this genre in our time.”
The love of hunting and the love of animals in cultivated people gives rise to a
sometimes rueful, sometimes triumphant intensity of spirit which has rarely been
so well expressed as in Guy de la Valdene's book. Few have had as wide an
opportunity--so unpretentiously expressed--to find out what drives, rewards and
worries us about hunting.
-Thomas McGuane Valdene's wondrous field memoir is a rich sportsman's miscellany -- memorable and
erudite fowling lore, camp etiquette, ballistics, poaching ethics, glorious anecdote,
bloody ducks, persistent bawdiness, and better wine than you or I'll ever drink --
all elegantly spun as an affectionate and sentimental education of loss and renewal. It's
a terrific book.
- Richard Ford
The Fragrance of Grass is an exquisite, big-hearted celebration of a life grandly spent outdoors. Any novelist who'd try to invent a character like Guy de La Valdene would be doomed to fall short. He is a unique philosopher- scoundrel with a wise, gentle heart, and he writes like a dream.
The Fragrance of Grass is destined to become one of the very smal number of true hunting classics. Valdene's writing is lovely indeed and the book is fresh, direct and utterly original.
Capturing Proust and honoring both Thoreau and Hemingway, Guy de la Valdene has carved out a new and delightful voice in American beauty both for outdoorsman and mere observers alike. The recipes for a seasoned hunter's delight in the joys of his life are inspirational and delicious and the succulent prose a true pleasure to savour, morsel after morsel. This is quite simply the most tasty, satisfying and fascinating ragout that I have tasted in years.
You won't find a living writer who knows more than Guy de la Valdene on his three favorite subjects: birds on the wing, birds on the table, and the short, happy lives of bird dogs. And in crisply lyrical prose, his memoir confronts the haunting question of whether the beauty of the hunt can ever justify its savagery.—Howell Raines
"La Valdène lyrically recounts a rugged lifetime fortified by the land, offering . . . resonant and beautifully written memories of his time in the fields. . . . Savory recipes close out the authors light, lovingly crafted fare. A compact, delightful feast for the senses."
—Kirkus Reviews "His view of hunting is, at its deepest level, a joyous melancholy meditation on life and death." —Chris Camuto, Gray's Sporting Journal
An ode to one mans enduring love affair with hunting, The Fragrance of Grass
stands as a testament to Guy de la Valdènes deep affection for, and abiding respect of, the natural world and its inhabitants. Set in places as far afield as France and Montana, Saskatchewan and Florida, this gorgeously written book is an elegant treatise on dogs, birds, and wildlife, food, wine, and women.
About the Author
Guy de la Valdène was born and raised in France. His earlier books include For a Handful of Feathers, and Making Game: An Essay on Woodcock. He is the also the author of a novel, Red Stag. His articles have appeared in Sports Afield and Field & Stream, among other publications. He lives on an 800-acre farm outside of Tallahassee, Florida.