In the opening pages of the stunning and thoughtful debut essay collection How Far the Light Reaches: A Life in Ten Sea Creatures, science journalist Sabrina Imbler recalls the first time they wrote about an octopus and how it made them think of their mother: "I discovered unexpected, surprising resonances that cracked open what I knew about the ocean and myself." Imbler continues to weave together the oceanic and the human in thought-provoking reflections on queerness, race, family, love and identity along the way.
In "How to Draw a Sperm Whale," Imbler notes the many ways "we shoehorn distinctions between ourselves and other animals, often harming both of us." Each essay serves to collapse the distance implied by those distinctions. Little-known facts about sea creatures sit aside startlingly clear reflections on what it means to be one's own self, to be human. Tender and candid, How Far the Light Reaches is a poignant invitation into the depths of ocean life and a call to consider what nature can reveal about the human condition from a brilliant and poetic writer. --Kerry McHugh, freelance reviewer