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

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

Sabrina Imbler. Little, Brown, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-316-54053-7

In this captivating debut, science writer Imbler shines a light on the mysterious sea creatures that live in Earth’s most inhospitable reaches, drawing parallels to their own experience of adaptation and survival. In “My Mother and the Starving Octopus,” Imbler describes octopus brooding—a process during which a female starves and withers to death while protecting her eggs—and uses it as a poignant launching point to delve into the ramifications of their mother’s disordered relationship with food. In “Pure Life,” Imbler considers the yeti crab, marveling at how it survives atop hydrothermal vents, little islands of heat on the ocean floor, and recounts their own experience craving closeness: “I wanted communities that warmed me until I tingled.” Science, race, and the act of writing are at the core of the deeply personal “Hybrids,” in which Imbler describes their fixation on a butterflyfish that was the offspring of two different species and dissects their changing experience writing about race. Imbler’s ability to balance illuminating science journalism with candid personal revelation is impressive, and the mesmerizing glints of lyricism are a treat. This intimate deep dive will leave readers eager to see where Imbler goes next. (Dec.)