Against the Dying of the Light: A Parent's Story of Love, Loss and Hope

A book from Jewish Lights, SkyLight Paths’ sister imprint

A father's struggle to understand his daughter's sudden death becomes a ruthlessly honest, lyrical and wise exploration of life. Takes the experience of loss beyond the confines of the personal, finding universal meaning and hope in the details of grief.

Leonard Fein

5½ x 8½, 176 pp | 978-1-58023-197-8

Click below to purchase


  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Indie Bound


  • kindle
  • nook
  • itunes

How a father’s struggle to understand his daughter’s sudden death becomes an inspiring exploration of life.

The sudden death of a child. A personal tragedy beyond description. The permanent presence of an absence. What can come from it? Raw wisdom and defiant hope.

Leonard Fein probes life’s painful injustices in this remarkable personal story. He exposes emotional truths that are revealed when we’re forced to confront one of the toughest questions there is: How can we pick up the pieces of our lives and go on to laugh and to love in the aftermath of grievous loss?

Ruthlessly honest, lyrical and wise, Against the Dying of the Light takes the experience of loss beyond the confines of the personal, illuminating the universal meaning and the hope that can be found in the details of grief.

“Few have written more lyrically than Leonard Fein about the tension between loving and letting go that defines a parent’s relationship with a grown-up child. No one has written more poignantly about that final, unimaginable letting go demanded by a child’s death—or how the loving continues, immortalized in memory.”

Letty Cottin Pogrebin, author of Deborah, Golda, and Me: Being Female and Jewish in America

“Leonard Fein’s grimly glowing book is an exemplary Jewish accomplishment: it transforms an unspeakable pain into a speakable pain. His lucidity is itself a variety of consolation.”

Leon Wieseltier, author of Kaddish

“I have rarely been as moved by a personal memoir as I am by this one. Writing with great simplicity and depth, and not without wisdom, faced with the death of his daughter, Leonard Fein shares with the reader his helplessness and his quasi-mystical urge to overcome it.”

Elie Wiesel

“I will recommend this unique book to those who cannot accept the words of conventional comfort but would look unsquintingly at the Angel of Death…. An avowedly secular Jew, Leonard Fein has written a profoundly religious book.”

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, Congregation Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, California, author of Conscience: The Duty to Obey and the Duty to Disobey

Foreword ix
Preface xi
PART I Real Time: Life and Death 1
PART II Meditations and Consolations 63
PART III A Letter to Liat 137