How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures

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Science writer Sabrina Imbler has an amazing talent for forging words into burning images that occasionally sear the soul. She cleverly juxtaposes descriptions of the patterned lives of ten different sea creatures with emotional events in her own life.

Her adolescent bout with weight is contrasted with the engaging octopus which refrains from food when brooding over its eggs. She tries to protect goldfish from being self-poisoned by their ammoniacal urine when confined within restrictive fishbowls, while they can grow to the size of cantaloupes if liberated into ponds or streams. Life conditions can be restrictive and cruel, as she sadly bemoans her sense of being a hybrid due to her part-Asian background in this Western white world.

The wonders of marine biology are vividly described in the tragic stories of giant whales and ancient threatened sturgeons, down to transparent, constantly reproducing jelly fish. Yet all these life forms are designed to best survive within their environment. Meanwhile, the author’s narrative whines about gender discrimination and her own struggle to survive. She is gifted with an amazing facility to transform language into lyrical imagery and a sensitivity to the creatures she studies, but her memoir story itself becomes tiresome.

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Author Sabrina Imbler
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 272 pages
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date 9780316540537
ISBN 9780316540537 Buy this Book
Issue January 2023
Category Science & Nature