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How Far the Light Reaches

A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 6, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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Dec 6, 2022




"A miraculous, transcendental book. Sabrina Imbler is a generational talent, and this book is a gift to us all." — ED YONG, New York Times Bestselling author of I Contain Multitudes

A queer, mixed race writer working in a largely white, male field, science and conservation journalist Sabrina Imbler has always been drawn to the mystery of life in the sea, and particularly to creatures living in hostile or remote environments. Each essay in their debut collection profiles one such creature: the mother octopus who starves herself while watching over her eggs, the Chinese sturgeon whose migration route has been decimated by pollution and dams, the bizarre Bobbitt worm (named after Lorena), and other uncanny creatures lurking in the deep ocean, far below where the light reaches. Imbler discovers that some of the most radical models of family, community, and care can be found in the sea, from gelatinous chains that are both individual organisms and colonies of clones to deep-sea crabs that have no need for the sun, nourished instead by the chemicals and heat throbbing from the core of the Earth. Exploring themes of adaptation, survival, sexuality, and care, and weaving the wonders of marine biology with stories of their own family, relationships, and coming of age, How Far the Light Reaches is a book that invites us to envision wilder, grander, and more abundant possibilities for the way we live.


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“Compulsively readable, beautifully lyric, and wildly tender, How Far the Light Reaches asks the reader to sink down, slip beneath, swim forward with outstretched hands, trusting that Sabrina Imbler is there to guide us through the dark. It presents the body as one that might morph and grow in any number of directions. How do we see ourselves? Can we learn to unsee? A breathtaking, mesmerizing debut from a tremendous talent.”—KRISTEN ARNETT, NYT bestselling author of With Teeth
“This is a miraculous, transcendental book. Across these essays, Imbler has choreographed a dance of metaphor between the wonders of the ocean’s creatures and the poignancy of human experience, each enriching the other in surprising and profound ways. To write with such grace, skill, and wisdom would be impressive enough; to have done so in their first major work is truly breathtaking. Sabrina Imbler is a generational talent, and this book is a gift to us all.”—ED YONG, New York Times Bestselling author of I Contain Multitudes
“How Far the Light Reaches marks the arrival of a phenomenal writer creating an intellectual channel entirely their own, within which whales and feral goldfish swim by the enchantment, ache, and ecstasy of human life.”—MEGHA MAJUMDAR, New York Times bestselling author of A Burning
How Far the Light Reaches draws startling, moving connections between the lives of sea creatures and our existence on solid ground; between the vast depths of the ocean and the similarly mysterious expanse of inner experience. Working at the nexus of nature writing and memoir, Sabrina Imbler is beautifully reinventing both genres."
 —ANGELA CHEN, author of ACE
How Far the Light Reaches is a creature unlike any other—one that grips you with its tentacles and pulls you down into new depths. It is impossible to read this book and not be transformed.”—RACHEL E. GROSS, author of Vagina Obscura
"A pinwheel of awe spinning one 'wow' after another."—SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA, author of How to Pronounce Knife
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