A compassionate, touching, tough-minded journal of a woman at a crossroads, with death pulling in one direction, life in another. When Schreiber at mid-life left an enviably successful professional and personal life in N.Y.C. to live and write in the Catskill Mountains, one of her preoccupations became trout fishing. It is the middle of the trout stream that here becomes a metaphor for the confrontation between life and death that followed. Buying and beginning to restore a house in Upstate New York, she discovered her mother was dying of cancer in Minnesota. The diary that she kept for two years--as she shuttled between the home that was being coaxed into new life and her mother, who was being destroyed by physical and mental anguish--became this book. Schreiber writes so simply and sensitively, she is so astute in observations of human and animal behavior, so forthright in reports of frustration, anger, sorrow, as well as hope, pleasure, and even boredom that she brings light to the dark path of pain she describes. Not incidental to the story are the tales of bureaucratic tangles and miscommunication in the medical community, suffered by the family even though her brother is a doctor. The fear and hurt generated by loss and separation are universal; Schreiber's struggles to master those feelings, to help her mother accept death and to reconcile ends and beginnings, elevate the human spirit. A moving chronicle.