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.
Braided through the fascinating account...is Imbler’s own narrative ... Weaving in personal experiences with sexual encounters whose tenor has changed to something sinister over the years, Imbler questions the way the stories we tell and the stories we hear affect what we understand about predators and about ourselves as potential prey ... Beyond their metaphorical significance, though, it’s the actuality of the sea creatures that Imbler beautifully captures and renders meaningful ... There is grief in these essays as well, for the changes that humanity has wrought upon the deep ... I found both solace and hope in Imbler’s ability to portray a world so foreign it’s barely legible to humans, and to bring forth the myriad ways of being that we might draw on to imagine our way forward through the depths.
Imbler does an excellent job of making deep-sea creatures relevant in their memoir, a collection of ten essays connecting themes from their personal life to aspects of marine biology ... Some of Imbler’s essays suffer from thematic connections that lean toward the obvious, but this doesn’t detract from the honesty and intelligence displayed in the writing itself ... Overall, this collection is a thing of beauty, a welcome voice in a field dominated by white, male writers.
Luminous ... Imbler cannily observes the lives of sea creatures, drawing out lessons about resilience, survival and wildness and tying those insights to their own experiences as a biracial, queer writer ... How Far the Light Reaches meditates radiantly on the ragged ways we adapt to the world around us, probing the lives of marine animals for strategies for our own survival. Imbler’s first-rate science writing glistens with the same sheen as the best of Oliver Sacks’ essays.