Le Anne Schreiber's writing in her extraordinary memoir, "Light Years," is all indirection. Instead of writing about death, Schreiber writes about everything else, and death just surges up in the reader's peripheral vision, a dire and toxic presence.
The book's opening section, ostensibly about fly-fishing, soon focuses on a daughter being gently taught by her father. Schreiber sends her father photos of the trout stream near the house where she lives. She writes him letters about things she has seen while fishing: A heron lifting off or a buck crossing the stream.
"On my last visit to him, I saw he kept those pictures at his bedside," she writes. "Thumb-worn at the corners, they still glistened at the center. One August morning he asked if we could talk about a few things 'just in case.' He said he would like a portion of his ashes to enter the stream."
Schreiber's journey from being a daughter whose father taught her how to fish and release what she caught, to being a daughter who releases her father's ashes into the stream where she fishes, is at the heart of this sad, simply written book.