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Indoor Adventure


A Life Worth Living: The Adventures of a Passionate Sportsman
by Jack Hemingway
The Lyons Press, 224 pages, $24.95

Hemingway writes that he spent the first half of his life "being
the son of a famous father" (Ernest Hemingway) and the second
half as "the father of famous children" (actresses Margaux and
Mariel Hemingway). Yet the life he describes in this posthumously
published memoir (he died in 2000) is heroic and beautiful.
Heroic not only because of his service as an intelligence officer
in World War II but also because he faced down the family curse:
a ferocious depression that drove his father, grandfather and
daughter Margaux to suicide.

What saved him, he says, was fishing or, more precisely, the
artistry and concentration he brought to the sport. In a typical
passage he savors the grayling's "beautifully spotted dorsal fin"
and the fish's aroma--"like wild thyme when first taken from the
water." In 1977, more than 30 years after he parachuted behind
enemy lines to aid the French resistance (he was later wounded
and captured), he was feted at a Frenchman's party as the crazy
American who dropped out of the air with a fishing rod tied to
his leg. That is just how Jack Hemingway wanted, and deserves, to
be remembered.

The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns,
Friendship and Family
by Walt Harrington
Grove/Atlantic, 192 pages, $23

Harrington, a journalism professor at Illinois, has written a
passionate argument that hunting can be a powerful, uplifting
force in men's lives, even for him, an unapologetically sensitive
21st-century guy who has emotional rap sessions with his son that
end in hugs and I-love-yous. While this sort of What Hunting
Means to Me monologue has been attempted many times--often with
results that induce sleep or the gag reflex--this one is

Harrington married a woman (Keran Elliott) from rural Kentucky,
and it was his father-in-law, Alex, who reintroduced him to
hunting, which he had given up on his way to a job as a writer at
The Washington Post. The author was understandably ill at ease
the first time he headed into the woods with Alex and his hunting
buddies. He soon becomes more relaxed, yet remains sensitive
enough to feel compassion for the critters he shoots, and he
wrestles with his conscience even as he twists off a rabbit's
head "as if I were opening a stubborn jar of pickles." But
Harrington argues convincingly that it's far better for the soul
if we kill and dress our meat than if we pluck it from a Safeway
freezer and never wonder where it came from.