Kimi Eisele’s debut novel, The Lightest Object In The Universe, might be the most optimistic post-apocalyptic story ever written. It’s Sleepless In Seattle meets Station Eleven ... Some people will find The Lightest Object In The Universe impossibly naïve. Instead of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, Eisele gives us bicycle networks and community gardens ... tension is missing from too much of The Lightest Object In The Universe, which is perhaps 75 pages too long and 20 percent too preachy about capitalist greed. But the leisurely chapters are full of beauty, the characters are layered and nuanced ... To be fair, there are plenty of horrors in Eisele’s version of the apocalypse. A lot of people die. But unlike The Road, The Lightest Object is mostly interested in the survivors who are kind to one another. If that sounds naïve, maybe Cormac McCarthy made us all too cynical.
Aimed at the population’s ignorance of living with the land and the ecological changes we’ve got to make, the novel presents a stark aftermath to a coming crisis. Against a backdrop of global meltdown and horrific pandemics, some communities crumble and others form, seeking mutual support and sustenance and relearning the age-old rituals of survival, from woodcraft to scavenging, gardening to food preservation. Still, it’s frustrating that many presented facts about agrarian life are wrong, glossing over particulars in favor of a broad morality tale in a way that affects the story’s believability.
...compellingly realistic ... Rosie had the potential to add additional nuance and depth to Beatrix and Carson's story. Unfortunately, she's not given enough room in the story to fully explore how the profound and mundane events she witnesses change her. Despite this, The Lightest Object in the Universe is an intriguing and engrossing debut novel that will leave readers thinking about their own ability to survive, their own capacity for love, and their willingness to face catastrophe with hope.