The Lightest Object in the Universe
If the grid went down, how would you find someone on the other side of the country? How would you find hope? After a global economic collapse and failure of the electrical grid, amid escalating chaos, Carson, a high school teacher of history who sees history bearing out its lessons all around him, heads west on foot toward Beatrix, a woman he met and fell hard for during a chance visit to his school. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be delivered from hardship if they can find their way to the evangelical preacher Jonathan Blue, who is broadcasting on all the airwaves countrywide. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Beatrix and her neighbors turn to one another for food, water, and solace, and begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could, in fact, be a promising beginning. But between Beatrix and Carson lie 3,000 miles. With no internet or phone or postal service, can they find their way back to each other, and what will be left of their world when they do? The answers may lie with fifteen-year-old Rosie Santos, who travels reluctantly with her grandmother to Jonathan Blue, finding her voice and making choices that could ultimately decide the fate of the cross-country lovers. The Lightest Object in the Universe is a story about reliance and adaptation, a testament to the power of community and a chronicle of moving on after catastrophic loss, illustrating that even in the worst of times, our best traits, borne of necessity, can begin to emerge. 

The Lightest Object in the Universe Details

TitleThe Lightest Object in the Universe
Author
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherAlgonquin Books
ISBN-139781616207939
Rating
GenreScience Fiction, Fiction, Apocalyptic, Post Apocalyptic, Dystopia

The Lightest Object in the Universe Review

  • Paula Kalin
    January 1, 1970
    This is a first! A dystopian novel about rebuilding rather than destruction!Kimi Eisele’s debut gives us a world where the government no longer exists, electricity is gone, and along with it the economy. Society has collapsed due to a flu outbreak. The heart of the story, however, is about two people in love that are on opposite sides of the country and their journey to get back together.Beatrix, a fair trade advocate and protester, is on the West Coast, and Carson, a history teacher, is on the This is a first! A dystopian novel about rebuilding rather than destruction!Kimi Eisele’s debut gives us a world where the government no longer exists, electricity is gone, and along with it the economy. Society has collapsed due to a flu outbreak. The heart of the story, however, is about two people in love that are on opposite sides of the country and their journey to get back together.Beatrix, a fair trade advocate and protester, is on the West Coast, and Carson, a history teacher, is on the East Coast. Carson decides to make the trek cross country to find Beatrix. What unfolds is a wonderful story about the resilience of the surviving human race and the start to new beginnings.Carson’s journey brings him in touch with all sorts of people. Some are staying put, and others are traveling elsewhere. Many have been enticed to join Jonathan Blue who has been broadcasting via radio of a new paradise for the lost. Carson, however, decides to continue walking to the West Coast. The uplifting theme, however, is about those survivors that he does meet and their goodwill. Many that he meets on the road offer food, water, shelter, and the hope Carson needs to continue his long and arduous journey.Meanwhile, Beatrix has decided to stay put and, with the help of others, starts to build a new community. They share knowledge and possessions, bring to life a radio broadcast of their own, and rebuild as best they can.THE LIGHTEST OBJECT IN THE UNIVERSE is a delightful story about coming together, hope, and starting over.3.5 out of 5 starsMany thanks to Algonquin Books and Andrew for the ARC of Kim Eisele’s debut novel in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Karen’s Library
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not crying... YOU'RE crying! Ok... Maybe I'm crying just a little. I'm a huge fan of apocalyptic stories. There aren't many out there that are actually kind of hopeful. But folks, this one is just that! Very hopeful! Most of the book is about how the goodness of people come through rather than the dregs of society taking over.The Lightest Object in the Universe is the story of Carson on the east coast, and Beatrix on the west coast. Shortly after a soft apocalypse caused by a flu, Carson hea I'm not crying... YOU'RE crying! Ok... Maybe I'm crying just a little. I'm a huge fan of apocalyptic stories. There aren't many out there that are actually kind of hopeful. But folks, this one is just that! Very hopeful! Most of the book is about how the goodness of people come through rather than the dregs of society taking over.The Lightest Object in the Universe is the story of Carson on the east coast, and Beatrix on the west coast. Shortly after a soft apocalypse caused by a flu, Carson heads out on a journey from coast to coast to reunite with Beatrix, whom he loves. While Carson travels, Beatrix helps form a new community as the survivors begin anew in the world that's left. This is a love story and I couldn't get enough. This is the kind of world I hope to find if there ever is some kind of worldwide disaster.*Thank you so much to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the advance copy!*
    more
  • Scooter McDermitt
    January 1, 1970
    It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fineFor its first third, I found The Lightest Object in the Universe to be deeply frustrating. Here I am reading a novel about the end of the world - flu has wiped out a huge chunk of humanity, the government just sort-of decided to stop working, commerce has collapsed, and the electrical grid has stopped reducing iPhones and computers to useless blocks of plastic and metal - and the world stubbornly refuses to end. Where were the Nuke Pooches, It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fineFor its first third, I found The Lightest Object in the Universe to be deeply frustrating. Here I am reading a novel about the end of the world - flu has wiped out a huge chunk of humanity, the government just sort-of decided to stop working, commerce has collapsed, and the electrical grid has stopped reducing iPhones and computers to useless blocks of plastic and metal - and the world stubbornly refuses to end. Where were the Nuke Pooches, the marauding cannibal, road warriors, the blood-thirsty packs of sentient AIs, and the mushroom clouds? The problem wasn't with Kimi Eisele  (who's debut novel is one those infuriating books that makes you want to congratulate the author for creating something so unique, but at the same time, leaves you completely jealous that they can come so close to perfection with their first try); the problem was me. You see, I thought I was getting a novel about the end of the world, but Kimi Eisele wrote one about the world beginning. Set soon after the collapse of the world as we know it, the Lightest Object in the Universe tells the story of Beatrix (a Fair Trade advocate), Carson (a school principal trying to piece his life back together after the loss of his wife), his journey across the changed landscape of the United States, and her attempt to pull together a community that is threatening to fragment as water, food, and trust become increasingly rare commodities. It's a set-up rife with potential for exploring the darkest side of human psyche, but instead the author populates her novel with charcters who see the end of the world as an opportunity to build a new society where people work together to solve problems instead of looking for ways to maximize their own survival. That's not to say that there is no danger to be found in Kimi Eisle's novel - a deadly flu seems to be getting more lethal with every outbreak, a gang of bicycling terrorists teenagers angered that their generation has lost its future threaten to derail all progress, and a strange ascension cult which promises simple solutions to complex problems are constant and real threats - but these threats are overshadowed by the combined decency of the survivors who see their own pain and loss reflected in the eyes of the people they meet on the road to anywhere. In the end, Kimi Eisle, dosen't see the loss of our lifestyle as an ending, but as a beginning. It's our willingness to place more importance on the invisible people that we reach through our phones than the people we see everyday in our neighborhoods that is the true end of a world worth living in, and it's the same tools that connect the world and supposedly bring us together are the things that are keeping us most apart. In The Lightest Object in the Universe it's the loss of everything we think is important that acts as the catalyst for giving the human race a chance to live again. 
    more
  • Faith Hurst-Bilinski
    January 1, 1970
    It’s getting harder to write dystopian novels, I think. The writing here is as beautiful but the story itself didn’t capture me the way I thought it would. The back and forth between the stories of the two main characters seemed abrupt and I never really got the sense of wanting them to find each other.
    more
  • Iryna *Book and Sword*
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Algonquin Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.My WEBSITEMy INSTAGRAMMy WORDPRESS BLOG
  • Lissa
    January 1, 1970
    Well-written and full of haunting scenes of post-apocalyptic America, I devoured this book and it grew on me the more that I read it. It follows two adult characters who had a brief romance and are now trying to connect with each other even thought they live on opposite sides of the country. I wish that there was a little more details concerning how society crumbled, but descriptions of the aftermath were some of the best I have read. I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in ex Well-written and full of haunting scenes of post-apocalyptic America, I devoured this book and it grew on me the more that I read it. It follows two adult characters who had a brief romance and are now trying to connect with each other even thought they live on opposite sides of the country. I wish that there was a little more details concerning how society crumbled, but descriptions of the aftermath were some of the best I have read. I received a digital ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
    more
  • Rainey
    January 1, 1970
    I was gifted this book by a bookseller friend along with a recommendation based on how lovely the author is and a pitch of the book as an "uplifting post-apocalyptic novel." Who can resist that?Not only did The Lightest Object deliver on its promo pitch, the graceful, careful, utter humanity of the writing blew me away from the very first page. Eisele handles our grief, our flaws, and our very hearts with such delicacy as is rarely encountered. I cannot recommend this enough.
    more
  • Georgette
    January 1, 1970
    Is happiness possible in a post-apocalyptic world? Eisele makes you believe it is. A pretty good book for the subject matter.
  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed this!My childhood neighbor and friend wrote this book and I could not be more proud of her!I happy bought this at our local indie bookstore and started reading immediately and had no idea what to expect. The extra best thing about this is that this is exactly the sort of book that I would have devoured even if I didn't know the author. The grid goes down, society collapses, and the characters we follow are trying to survive and sustain themselves post-apocalypse Absolutely and thoroughly enjoyed this!My childhood neighbor and friend wrote this book and I could not be more proud of her!I happy bought this at our local indie bookstore and started reading immediately and had no idea what to expect. The extra best thing about this is that this is exactly the sort of book that I would have devoured even if I didn't know the author. The grid goes down, society collapses, and the characters we follow are trying to survive and sustain themselves post-apocalypse style. The story focuses on two people on opposite coasts who are trying to find each other and reconnect yet without the technology that we have become so used to communicating with -- it's a difficult task and near impossible to hope that they will indeed see each other again.Beatrix has been an activist for years, traveling in and out of South America helping establish free-trade and worker empowerment. Carson is a History professor on the East Coast. I really enjoyed the little bits that I know of Kimi in this -- the South American and the Pennsylvania bits. (smile).What I also really loved was how familiar these characters felt, how easy it was to love them and feel like I know them -- both in the book and in the real world. This story could be taken right out of my life and that was all the more exciting. Beatrix is working with her neighborhood on a sustainable collective lifestyle. Carson meanwhile is walking across the country. Both of them are hearing Blue's radio broadcasts -- encouraging everyone to come to "The Center". His preaching ways are enticing and it sounds like a perfect solution. Yet it's hard to walk hundreds of miles and many don't make it. Like any post-apocalptic world there are marauders and bandits and you never know quite who you can trust. Fortunately this is a story of hope and has a very positive spin on humanity working together for the greater good.I loved it right up until the very last sentence. It held me in it's grip the whole way through. A new spin on a common theme, all the more pertinent and believable in our near future.Love Love Love this book!
    more
  • Sam Sattler
    January 1, 1970
    I count dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels among my favorites, but having read quite a few of them over the years I’ve started to realize that finding something even a little different in the genre is not easy – not that I’m going to let that keep me from trying. Kimi Eisele’s The Lightest Object in the Universe is one dystopian novel that does manage to stand out from the crowd a bit. And that’s both the good news and the bad news.When the world economy finally crashes from all the abuses it’ I count dystopian or post-apocalyptic novels among my favorites, but having read quite a few of them over the years I’ve started to realize that finding something even a little different in the genre is not easy – not that I’m going to let that keep me from trying. Kimi Eisele’s The Lightest Object in the Universe is one dystopian novel that does manage to stand out from the crowd a bit. And that’s both the good news and the bad news.When the world economy finally crashes from all the abuses it’s suffered at the hands of incompetent and criminal manipulators over the decades, it drags governments and the whole power grid down with it. The United States, it seems, is particularly hard hit by the implosion. Suddenly, cell phones, personal computers, tablets, and smart watches are little more than plastic bricks of various sizes and shapes. Mass communication is a thing of the past. Ready or not, everyone is on his own, and survival is something that will have to be worked at every day for the rest of your life. And it won’t be easy. Carson and Beatrix are on opposite ends of the country when it happens. The pair met just days before the collapse, but both of them remember the sparks that flew during the little time they were able to share together before Beatrix had to return to the West Coast. Now, Carson is determined somehow to make his way from one coast to the other – and he is prepared to walk all the way even without knowing whether or not Beatriz will be there when, or if, he finally gets there.What makes The Lightest Object in the Universe different from most novels of its type is its ever-present sense of optimism and goodwill, a feeling that the good people in the world so overwhelmingly outnumber the bad ones that things will work out in the end. Everywhere our main characters turn they are met with people willing to share their expertise or whatever else they can spare. Oh, sure, there are some bad guys out there who will gladly kill and rape at the drop of a hat, but they never seem to get the upper hand for long. But this brings us to the “good news-bad news” scenario I mentioned earlier.I suppose that Kimi Eisele’s novel exposes me as being more a cynic than an optimist because I was never able to get completely comfortable with an apocalyptic world in which the crime rate is seemingly lower now than it was in the world that preceded it. This is a world, in fact, in which most of the crime - and even that is mostly theft and relatively minor assault - is perpetrated by pre-teens and teens on bicycles. If already dangerous neighborhoods and large cities are violently tearing themselves apart, it is all happening behind the scenes. This allows the overall sense of optimism to be maintained, but it kept me wondering what was happening elsewhere, and how long it would be before those worlds would collide with this one. That’s the bad news – at least for more cynical readers like me.The good news is that this is an uplifting novel, one filled with hope and confidence in human nature, that I enjoyed reading despite my occasional twinges of doubt. It is more a story about the creation of a new world than it is one about the destruction of an old world.And that just may be exactly what you need right now, so take a look.
    more
  • Guylou
    January 1, 1970
    I love to be surprised… this book surprised me. Sci-fi is not normally my go-to genre and I was a bit worried I might not be able to give this book its deserved praises. I was wrong, I could not put it down. This book is about love, deceit, survival, and perseverance. This is the story of two human beings who do not give up on humanity after a major apocalyptic event. One stays put in her neighborhood and helps build a new community. The other starts a long journey across a continent to join the I love to be surprised… this book surprised me. Sci-fi is not normally my go-to genre and I was a bit worried I might not be able to give this book its deserved praises. I was wrong, I could not put it down. This book is about love, deceit, survival, and perseverance. This is the story of two human beings who do not give up on humanity after a major apocalyptic event. One stays put in her neighborhood and helps build a new community. The other starts a long journey across a continent to join the one he loves and document a new chapter in history. They will both encounter evil, but will also meet good people along the way. This book is well written and captivating. It made me realize how unprepared I am in the event of a catastrophic event. It also made me think that although a lot of evil could come out from such an traumatic event, the goodness of the human heart will prevail and will be the hope for humanity survival.💁🏼‍️ Thank you, Thomas Allen & Sons for sending me an ARC of this stunning book. The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele will be available at your favourite bookstore on July 9th.
    more
  • J.D. DeHart
    January 1, 1970
    Kimi Eisele writes with a haunting sense of place in this novel. This is my first venture into this author’s work but I appreciate Eisele’s eye for detail.A book that will reverberate for some time after it is read.
  • Keisha Frantom
    January 1, 1970
    A few months after all the electricity in the world goes out, technology and most of society falls. Carson is a principal and lives on the east coast and after his school closes and the city becomes rough, he decides to travel east to find Beatrix. They have been corresponding but have only met each other for a few hours. Along the way Carson meets many friendly and helpful people. Beatrix finds a home with her neighbors and tries to make their community and others better through radio broadcast A few months after all the electricity in the world goes out, technology and most of society falls. Carson is a principal and lives on the east coast and after his school closes and the city becomes rough, he decides to travel east to find Beatrix. They have been corresponding but have only met each other for a few hours. Along the way Carson meets many friendly and helpful people. Beatrix finds a home with her neighbors and tries to make their community and others better through radio broadcasts. There are teenagers who terrorize people and unsavory people along the way but this is different from most end of the world books. "Love was the lightest object, the thing that elevated you and kept you aloft."
    more
  • Julie Gaudette
    January 1, 1970
    What would happen if the power grid failed? This novel is beautifully written. The smells, sounds of silence,and the bright sky we so often do not acknowledge are brought to our awareness. I loved the characters. Some of the story line was predictable but it is a page turner! This book made me want to dig out my camping equipment and Field guide to Edible Plants of North America!Thank you Netgalley for Advance copy
    more
  • Lori L (She Treads Softly)
    January 1, 1970
    The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele is a recommended post-apocalyptic novel.A flu pandemic sweeps the world, twice. Protests are already tearing the country apart when society completely breaks down after a cyber attack takes out the electrical grid, along with the global economy and everything else. What is left is a world of individuals on their own who must know how to survive by their own wits and means. Carson is living on the East Coast when the collapse happens, while the w The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele is a recommended post-apocalyptic novel.A flu pandemic sweeps the world, twice. Protests are already tearing the country apart when society completely breaks down after a cyber attack takes out the electrical grid, along with the global economy and everything else. What is left is a world of individuals on their own who must know how to survive by their own wits and means. Carson is living on the East Coast when the collapse happens, while the woman he has been having a long-distance relationship with, Beatrix, lives on the West Coast. While Beatrix finds herself trying to work with her neighbors to create a cooperative community, set up a radio station, and watch out for the gangs of unruly teenagers on bikes who call themselves T-Rizers, Carson sets out to cross the country on foot to find Beatrix.The narrative alternates between Carson and Beatrix's point-of-view, with a few sections told through teenage Rosie's eyes. Along Carson's journey he encounters a wide variety of people, most of which are adapting to the new world, mostly helpful. Many are heading toward the compound of a man called Jonathan Blue and the Center he leads in Wyoming. He has taken over the radio frequencies and offers food and community for all who come and join his self-styled religious cult. People across the country are headed toward his group, while others stay in place and try to survive by their own strength and wits.I would probably scoff at this kinder, gentler post-apocalyptic novel, except for the absolutely exceptional writing - and the quality of the writing is exquisite. She also delves deep into her characters, who are good people. You will want the best to happen to them, even if you, like me, doubt the vision created here. There is also a little too much implied finger-pointing about the "various evil whatever entities that brought us to this horrid path, but look at how we can overcome" going on. Eisele has envisioned a collapse of society that is actually somewhat optimistic. One would imagine that the actual violence is taking place somewhere off the page, because this novel is more about hope, community efforts, and a new beginning, which is kind of nice, but not highly likely in reality. If people can't get along when they are living (generally, in comparison) comfortable lives, how would the end of society suddenly make them try? Beatrix scoffs at armed guards protecting her neighborhood. Really? Digging composting toilets with your neighbors doesn't necessarily bring people together and make them want to share all they have with others. I also found the idea that thousands of people would head off to a cult located in Wyoming a fantastical fabrication.In the final analysis, suspend your disbelief and read this novel for the determination of Carson to get to Beatrix.Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2019/0...
    more
  • Kasey
    January 1, 1970
    I won't be able to write a review that will do Kimi's book justice, but I don't want to "wait until the right time," so here it goes! I was a naughty reader, skimming ahead in a few parts, because I wanted so much to find out what happened next, what happened to certain characters.... so I would allow myself to skip lightly ahead (which I never usually let myself do!), then make myself go back to savor the prose. I wanted both to savor the journey, and to get where we were going next. It's kind I won't be able to write a review that will do Kimi's book justice, but I don't want to "wait until the right time," so here it goes! I was a naughty reader, skimming ahead in a few parts, because I wanted so much to find out what happened next, what happened to certain characters.... so I would allow myself to skip lightly ahead (which I never usually let myself do!), then make myself go back to savor the prose. I wanted both to savor the journey, and to get where we were going next. It's kind of an amazing parallel, when the reader is able to have much of the same experience the characters are having.This book is exciting and engaging, as it follows the uncertain journeys of several characters that, I, as the reader, grew to care about very quickly. These characters are living in a present where survival and community are uncertain, the future a distant dream. I read to find out what would happen to these characters, but, as I read -- and re-read, more carefully -- I really had the chance to ruminate on big questions, universal questions, about what we truly need and what makes us human. I'm so happy I knew about this book since Kimi is a friend, and thrilled to see the success the book is already having, in its earliest days of publication, as a debut novel. Kimi deserves this as a person and as an artist, but even if I had never met her, I would tell you, without a doubt, that this BOOK deserves all the acclaim it's getting. Read it, re-read it, discuss it with family and friends. There's a lot to chew on here, but it doesn't feel HEAVY, like so many books with similar settings. It's light as hope and feathers, community and love.
    more
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    The Lightest Object in the Universe follows Carson and Beatrix, a couple that began a long-distance relationship prior to the apocalypse, an event that unfolded over years but was cemented by the final loss of the nation's power grid. As they both grapple with how to proceed in a world with no electricity, very little gasoline, and not even a reliable national mail service, the reader watches as Beatrix tries to establish a community where she lives and Carson decides to set out on foot to be wi The Lightest Object in the Universe follows Carson and Beatrix, a couple that began a long-distance relationship prior to the apocalypse, an event that unfolded over years but was cemented by the final loss of the nation's power grid. As they both grapple with how to proceed in a world with no electricity, very little gasoline, and not even a reliable national mail service, the reader watches as Beatrix tries to establish a community where she lives and Carson decides to set out on foot to be with his love.What is so utterly unique about this dystopian story is just how real it feels. Eisele's apocalypse starts very much where the world is today. There is not a single thing that happens in this story that isn't 100% plausible given the right conditions. Eisele's smooth narrative style moves back and forth quickly between Carson and Beatrix (and towards the end, Rosie), propelling the reader through the novel at lightning pace - I finished this book in two days! I loved each character's examinations of their previous life against the bleak blank slate that is their future, and also how each character's past lives have followed them into the apocalypse, framing how they see the world and the decisions they make.Overall, I'm very impressed with this novel. I read a lot of dystopian fiction and this one is definitely worth reading. Thank you Netgalley and Algonquin for my free review copy. All opinions are my own.
    more
  • David Domkoski
    January 1, 1970
    An optimistic book about the end of the world? Yes! Not since Station Eleven have I read such a hopeful book about the destruction of life as we know it. Kimi Eisele's wondrous The Lightest Object in the Universe is, at its heart, a love story of two 30 somethings separated by distance and circumstances. But is is so much more than that - a cross-country journey of survival; the faith and strength of a small community struggling to survive and the terror of a savage and uncivilized society. Cars An optimistic book about the end of the world? Yes! Not since Station Eleven have I read such a hopeful book about the destruction of life as we know it. Kimi Eisele's wondrous The Lightest Object in the Universe is, at its heart, a love story of two 30 somethings separated by distance and circumstances. But is is so much more than that - a cross-country journey of survival; the faith and strength of a small community struggling to survive and the terror of a savage and uncivilized society. Carson, on the East Coast, is desperate to find Beatrix, a woman on the West Coast (who he met briefly). He starts out on an amazing journey encountering madmen and survivalists, gangs of all sorts, religious fanatics, destroyed cities, and desolate landscapes, all the while hoping to find Beatrix.Meanwhile, Beatrix and her neighbors begin to construct a cooperative community, complete with animals, a vegetable garden and lots more. Optimistic for the future and excited to be starting over, they plan to survive, doing whatever it takes to build home.Like Station Eleven, this is a book about the need for and importance of community, and for connection, This is a book about the desire to survive the unimaginable and to find your heart. Kin Eisele does a beautiful job of bringing us into the devastated world through her lyrical writing. Alternating between Carson's story and Beatrix's, she keeps the suspense and sense of doom building, but finishes with a gentleness and a hope for the future. Give this book some time to grow on you, be willing to suspend your disbelief (I am not optimistic about society's ability to come together and rebuild so quickly) and you will be rewarded with a good read.
    more
  • Nichole
    January 1, 1970
    4 out of 5 starsAt first I wobbled between a 3.5 stars and a 4.In the end this read struck me in a way and I knew it deserved the 4… and I will tell you why.Kimi Eisele had a fantastic concept and she executed it perfectly.This was unlike any post apocalyptic novel I have read before. Please keep in mind I am use to the fast pace, disease wiping out the world, zombies, evil humans struggling to survive and willing to do anything needed to do so….The Lightest Objects In The Universe was different 4 out of 5 starsAt first I wobbled between a 3.5 stars and a 4.In the end this read struck me in a way and I knew it deserved the 4… and I will tell you why.Kimi Eisele had a fantastic concept and she executed it perfectly.This was unlike any post apocalyptic novel I have read before. Please keep in mind I am use to the fast pace, disease wiping out the world, zombies, evil humans struggling to survive and willing to do anything needed to do so….The Lightest Objects In The Universe was different. It was a bit of a Showing the power of love even in the darkest of times.A perfect balance of both plot and character growth throughout this read. The relationships that existed prior to this angry flu and the relationships that grew during the story were memorable. You meet so many different characters, each one unique in their own way.That being said, while reading this you need to be on the ball. Kimi introduces so many different side characters, while bouncing back and forth between Carson, Beatrix and also some moment glimpses into their lives prior to this epidemic. If you miss an important moment or a character introduction it may confuse you. So pay attention!If you are a lover of any post apocalyptic, dystopian, science fiction reads than give The Lightest Object In The Universe a go. It may be different then what you are use to but I don’t think it will disappoint.“𝕂𝕟𝕠𝕔𝕜-𝕂𝕟𝕠𝕔𝕜 𝔽𝕝𝕦”Thanks to Thomas Allen & Son for sending this powerful read my way for review.And of course thank you all for reading.Your Fellow Bookworm-Nichole
    more
  • Christy Mc
    January 1, 1970
    The Lightest Object in the Universe is the story of the United States after all the lights have gone out. Separated from technology, the remainder of the population not wiped out by a virulent flu struggle to find their way in a new world by tapping into skills of the “old world.” Carson, a high school principal whose wife passed when technology was still around, sets off from the East Coast on a journey to his girlfriend who lives out west. Beatrix, his girlfriend, travels back from a free trad The Lightest Object in the Universe is the story of the United States after all the lights have gone out. Separated from technology, the remainder of the population not wiped out by a virulent flu struggle to find their way in a new world by tapping into skills of the “old world.” Carson, a high school principal whose wife passed when technology was still around, sets off from the East Coast on a journey to his girlfriend who lives out west. Beatrix, his girlfriend, travels back from a free trade conference abroad, and finds many of her activist skills are useful after the “darkness” hits.As Carson travels and Beatrix works, they both hear radio broadcasts from Jonathan Blue, a preacher who has captivated the nation with his sermons addressing the multitudes who feel lost.When Carson stops in at Blue’s “paradise” and interviews him, posing as a historian, Blue talks of the isolation many feel because of technology and Blue’s opinion that technology was inhibiting people’s evolution and connection to others.This is the happiest dystopian fiction novel I’ve read in a long, long time. It certainly had death at the level you’d expect in a novel about this subject matter but it ended on an essentially hopeful note that you rarely get in this genre.4.5 ⭐️s.
    more
  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I have never read a post-apocalypse themed book with a happy ending which is what drew me to this story initially. The story takes place after all technology and corporations go down after a flu wipes out huge portions of the population. The story is told from the perspective of the two main characters. Beatrix, a strong willed activist and Carson, a high school principal who was a history teacher beforehand. The two were having a long distance relationship when everything went down. Though no c I have never read a post-apocalypse themed book with a happy ending which is what drew me to this story initially. The story takes place after all technology and corporations go down after a flu wipes out huge portions of the population. The story is told from the perspective of the two main characters. Beatrix, a strong willed activist and Carson, a high school principal who was a history teacher beforehand. The two were having a long distance relationship when everything went down. Though no cities are specifically mentioned some clues lead me to believe that Beatrix was in the San Francisco area and Carson was in maybe Chicago or New York? Anyways, one of the last things Carson told Beatrix is that he would find her if the grid shut down. Luckily she decides to stay home and try to rehabilitate her neighborhood to be more self sustaining and Carson begins a long trek westward to find the woman he loves. Carson writes in his journal the stories or histories of the people he comes across as well as letters to Beatrix which are being delivered hopefully via a network of young bicyclists known as the Cyclicals who deliver mail across town and across country. The story begins with large chunks of the story told from each person and as the book progresses the switches in character become quicker with no real break in between them. I found this very interesting and made the story all the harder to put down. I definitely recommend it.
    more
  • Lisa DeSousa
    January 1, 1970
    As post apocalyptic novels go, this one is a lot more optimistic. It is a quick read, and I enjoyed it very much. It is less "The Road" and more "The Dog Stars", and it does not capture the horror of life "after" nearly as well as either of those books. What it does well is paints a pretty clear path from where we are now to where we could end up with just a few of the calamities we are flirting with coming to fruition. Likable characters, well written dialogue. Not the deepest of insights, but As post apocalyptic novels go, this one is a lot more optimistic. It is a quick read, and I enjoyed it very much. It is less "The Road" and more "The Dog Stars", and it does not capture the horror of life "after" nearly as well as either of those books. What it does well is paints a pretty clear path from where we are now to where we could end up with just a few of the calamities we are flirting with coming to fruition. Likable characters, well written dialogue. Not the deepest of insights, but thought provoking. And I personally like the descriptions of how folks adapt to life after technology fails us. I have always liked that sort of story, as a child one of my favorite books was the "Trolley Car Family" about a family forced to make their home in a trolley car because of financial misfortune. Pro Tip: Do not watch the first episode of Years and Years on HBO the same night you start this novel, turns out that is a perfect recipe for really disturbing dreams. Or perhaps that is what I should be doing, to remind myself of where we are heading....
    more
  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    Slightly underwhelmed with this one. Not sure what I had been expecting exactly but I was defintely expecting more. Maybe if the scope had been a bit more narrow? It felt like Kimi was trying to do too much with a storyline that might have benefited from a little less.
    more
  • Jennifer Wrage
    January 1, 1970
    FYI: I won this book on goodreads.com.At the beginning of the book I found the jumping between the male and female protagonists a little difficult and frustrating. I wanted to follow each in larger sections. As the plot thickened, it became clear that this style was well suited to the complete story. The topic is serious and provides a caution. It provided food for reflection.
    more
  • Isabelle
    January 1, 1970
    The Lightest Object in the Universe was so well written and full of lovable characters. Not your usual dystopian book, the story focuses more on the sense of community that could save someone from destroying themselves. I loved Carsons' perspective while traveling through the country. He meets so many inspiring characters that almost make you wish for simpler times. Rosie was that sweet teenager who still finding herself in this torn down world. How do you deal with being a teenager when the wor The Lightest Object in the Universe was so well written and full of lovable characters. Not your usual dystopian book, the story focuses more on the sense of community that could save someone from destroying themselves. I loved Carsons' perspective while traveling through the country. He meets so many inspiring characters that almost make you wish for simpler times. Rosie was that sweet teenager who still finding herself in this torn down world. How do you deal with being a teenager when the world around you just crashed? Where I had trouble was with Beatrix. As much as I loved her character she did annoy me some times and thought she was a little to anchored in her values. That being said, the story makes it a point to show how, in that kind of situation, you need to expand your mind and work with the people around you. If you are looking for a book that focuses on what makes this world great, The Lightest Object in the Universe is the book for you.
    more
  • Aoife
    January 1, 1970
    America has collapsed under the weight of inflation, terrorism, and a deadly flu outbreak. A new world is rising from the ashes, seen in passing by Carson, a man walking from the West to East coasts in search of a woman he knows mostly from online. On the East coast, Beatrix is working with other survivors to begin a new kind of community.There's a writing prompt I see online every so often: a "soft apocalypse". The world we know has ended, but not in a zombie apocalypse or meteor killing everyo America has collapsed under the weight of inflation, terrorism, and a deadly flu outbreak. A new world is rising from the ashes, seen in passing by Carson, a man walking from the West to East coasts in search of a woman he knows mostly from online. On the East coast, Beatrix is working with other survivors to begin a new kind of community.There's a writing prompt I see online every so often: a "soft apocalypse". The world we know has ended, but not in a zombie apocalypse or meteor killing everyone; this is a gentler one, where people rebuild shattered communities and help each other along the way. Lightest Object reads like Kimi was trying to answer that prompt. There are certainly mentions of raiders, but the ones we see are children, and on the whole America is stable and kind enough that a mute fifteen year old can walk from Wyoming over the Sierras back to the East coast without any real trouble, fed by people she meets along the way. Granted, one character is killed and one dies of some kind of dysentery, and we're joining the story already in progress. The power's been off for a while, presumably anyone with diabetes or the like is already dead, and the flu has taken out huge swathes of what's left, so a lot of the conflict is over already. Still, it's all a lot more bucolic than most descriptions.I realise this sounds disparaging, but it's not intended to be. I enjoyed this more optimistic look at a future that seems more and more possible every day, and I even picked up some useful tips. I enjoyed this and will read more by the author.“Jonathan Blue,” the father said. “He’s the one who runs this Center place. He’s monopolizing the airwaves.”“Some of his followers have come through here,” Nora said. “You know them from the skirts. The women all wear skirts.”“Not all of them,” Franklin said. “All kinds of people going now.”“I get wanting to believe in redemption,” Nora said. “But I don’t get having to walk to a specific place to get there.”“Gives them something to do,” Franklin said, then laughed loudly. “It’s tempting if he’s got all he says he’s got . But what’s the cost? I think there are other ways to make do.” He opened his arms. “I mean— this isn’t such a bad spread.” The father cleared his throat. “I’m not sure I buy his promises. But this is no holiday. We’re eating squirrels and mush. There’s no power, no jobs, no reliable way to communicate with anyone. We’ve lost everything, and we’re supposed to be celebrating? My wife and I have a baby to feed. What kind of world is this for a child?” Nora looked startled at first. Then her eyes softened. “We have learned to make do. We find crumbs. And there is a whole pot of cornmeal over there, which you are welcome to. And when that runs out, we’ll grind more corn and berries. Or mice. We’ll keep going. And every now and then, we’ll find something shiny and pick it up and put it in our pockets and keep it as a reminder of what’s good and what’s bright.”
    more
  • Abigail Higgins
    January 1, 1970
    Over the last year or two, I have found myself reading more and more dystopian or apocalyptic fiction. This wasn’t actually an intentional choice, to immerse myself in catastrophe, but I have enjoyed a lot of what I have read, and have even found a few new favorites. So, when I saw The Lightest Object in the Universe, described as a more hopeful take on the end of the world, I knew I had to read this one. When there is so much written about the trauma and treachery that is bound to take place wh Over the last year or two, I have found myself reading more and more dystopian or apocalyptic fiction. This wasn’t actually an intentional choice, to immerse myself in catastrophe, but I have enjoyed a lot of what I have read, and have even found a few new favorites. So, when I saw The Lightest Object in the Universe, described as a more hopeful take on the end of the world, I knew I had to read this one. When there is so much written about the trauma and treachery that is bound to take place when humanity falls from its peak, a book that imagines a different course of decline is refreshing. Although it was not entirely what I expected it to be, Kimi Eisele’s novel delivered on what it promised, and I was captivated.Eisele’s focus is not on the fall of civilization, but rather on its aftermath. Briefly, in the preface, she describes a gradual, not-too-farfetched chain of events in which the economy collapses, the environment constricts, infrastructure is compromised, and the electrical grid is attacked. A virulent flu has decimated the population, and the people that are left have to learn to form sustainable communities and survive in pre-industrial conditions. Focusing on two main characters, separated by the distance of the entire country, Eisele imagines an apocalypse in which humanity does not turn on itself, but instead comes together in an uplifting narrative of resilience and communal care. Beatrix, a former free trade agitator, settles down in California to help one neighborhood learn to coexist and share its gifts. Carson, her partner, meanwhile traverses the reeling nation to reach her again, encountering the maniacal, the violent, and mostly the kind and compassionate remnants of society during his journey to find her. Eisele is not blindly optimistic in suggesting that all people are good or would behave well when everything falls apart. But, she hopes that maybe, they would not be as bad as dystopian fiction often suggests. She dares to believe that perhaps when they needed each other most, people would be brave enough to reach out and to trust.Of the three main characters around whose lives the plot centers, I have to say that Beatrix annoyed me the most at first. With a strong mind and strong principles, there is a lot to admire about her. But, she also came across as too entrenched in her own values that she seems initially unwilling to accommodate others’ visions. Even at a time when so much has changed, Beatrix does not want to give way on the way that she things the world should work. Over the course of the story, however, she mellows a bit. Her prejudices against others, such as her initial distaste of a defense-minded verteran, soften, without her giving up her convictions entirely. She becomes less naive, and even acknowledges her former weaknesses. So, she ends up a lot more likeable than she started: still strong, still convinced of the necessity of community, but with a bit more empathy for the perspectives of others.I liked Carson a lot more from the outset. (Admittedly, some of this may be because he is an educator and a historian, so I feel a kinship with him…) But he is a more measured character, listening to the experiences of those around him and recording the unfolding of the end as he sees it. He loves Beatrix and pursues her, but he seems also ready without her. He too cares about his community, especially the youth; yet, for the most part, Carson is shown as a transient figure, an Odysseus trying to get home to his Penelope. Although we do not really see him and Beatrix together, it is easy to imagine how they would be good together, balancing out each other’s shortcomings and coaxing each other to see the world from broader perspectives.Rosie, the teenaged granddaughter of one of the residents in Beatrix’s neighborhood, was an interesting addition to the story. She has heterochromia, meaning that her eyes are different colors. Out of one, she sees the past, and out of the other she sees the future. Rosie ends up being a narrative link between Beatrix and Carson: she starts out as a friend of Beatrix’s, and ends up intersecting with Carson’s journey. I think her condition and ability helps to make sense of the roles that the other two main characters play in the story. Carson, a historian, has an awareness of the courses of other declines throughout the earth’s past, and is there to record this one. Beatrix, an activist, always has in mind the way that things could be better. Like Rosie sees both past and future, they mingle in the relationship between Carson and Beatrix. When the present is as disrupted as it is in The Lightest Object in the Universe, having an eye on both, so to speak, can help to foster the cohesive community that Eisele so clearly thinks the world needs to preservere.The writing in this book was amazing. From the prologue, even though it only lasted a couple of pages, I knew this was going to be a book I would want to savor. Eisele is a wonderful writer, with an ability to describe the world in such detail that can only come from observing it well. The plot does not always move quickly, so this was a book I found myself putting down at times, just to reflect on what I had read. But, the premise and its execution were both successful enough to make sure that I always picked it back up again.{See more reviews at https://fictitiousthoughts.wordpress.com}
    more
  • Craig Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    I like the premise of the story. What will happen to the world if all electricity stops? No real explanation of why this happens but that is not the story here. This would have been much more enjoyable if the author had focused more on the jouneys of the two lovers that the deep conversations they had on the way.
    more
  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    The Lightest Object in the Universe book review – no spoilers Thank you to Netgalley and Algonquin Books for the free advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.This one started out strong for me. It has a lot of great things going for it: mysterious dystopian setting, lovers separated by long distance trying to find their way to each other, a radical "savior" attempting to build a place of "freedom". But somewhere around halfway through my interest started to wane. I think I wasn't The Lightest Object in the Universe book review – no spoilers Thank you to Netgalley and Algonquin Books for the free advanced reading copy in exchange for an honest review.This one started out strong for me. It has a lot of great things going for it: mysterious dystopian setting, lovers separated by long distance trying to find their way to each other, a radical "savior" attempting to build a place of "freedom". But somewhere around halfway through my interest started to wane. I think I wasn't ready for the pacing and for where I was in my mindset I needed things to get going! All in all it's an insightful adventure that makes you think about what you would do if you were in this situation and the lengths you would go to for others.  It does feel completely plausible and that in its own is slightly terrifying if you think too hard on it. A solid 3 stars for The Lightest Object in the Universe, which in my ratings is a good novel !I'd recommend this for fans of Margaret Atwood and Kristin Hannah.Here's the official synopsis: What if the end times allowed people to see and build the world anew? This is the landscape that Kimi Eisele creates in her surprising and original debut novel. Evoking the spirit of such monumental love stories as Cold Mountain and the creative vision of novels like Station Eleven, The Lightest Object in the Universe imagines what happens after the global economy collapses and the electrical grid goes down.In this new world, Carson, on the East Coast, is desperate to find Beatrix, a woman on the West Coast who holds his heart. Working his way along a cross-country railroad line, he encounters lost souls, clever opportunists, and those who believe they’ll be saved by an evangelical preacher in the middle of the country. While Carson travels west, Beatrix and her neighbors begin to construct the kind of cooperative community that suggests the end could be, in fact, a bright beginning. Without modern means of communication, will Beatrix and Carson find their way to each other, and what will be left of the old world if they do? The answers may lie with a fifteen-year-old girl who could ultimately decide the fate of the lovers. 
    more
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele will satisfy those who want a hopeful dystopian novel.I liked some of the ideas of a community working together to salvage what they can in a world gone horribly wrong and to adjust to the changes forced upon them by the lack of electricity, a population decimated by a virulent flu, and the collapse of government. Beatrix, however, was annoying and almost everything connected to her part of the story was more than a little pedantic. Much of the The Lightest Object in the Universe by Kimi Eisele will satisfy those who want a hopeful dystopian novel.I liked some of the ideas of a community working together to salvage what they can in a world gone horribly wrong and to adjust to the changes forced upon them by the lack of electricity, a population decimated by a virulent flu, and the collapse of government. Beatrix, however, was annoying and almost everything connected to her part of the story was more than a little pedantic. Much of the time, I wanted to shake her sense of righteousness. (Obviously, if she and her activist friends had been in charge, the world would never have descended into to chaos.) I'm happy that there are people who stand up for their beliefs (many of which I agree with), but ugh--the smug, condescending attitude of the Beatrix before and after the collapse is irritating. Beatrix has good qualities, but the author's attempt to give her this activist background has such a holier-than-thou feeling. Being committed to a cause is one thing; being smug and condescending is another.Carson's journey on foot across the continent to find Beatrix has him meeting more good and generous people than dangerous ones. I love the idea that people would be so generous, sharing the little they have with others, and I know that this could be the saving grace of humanity in such a situation--it might be hopeful to expect such generosity from so many. I don't regret reading The Lightest Object and the writing is excellent, but especially with what is going on in our society today, it may be too optimistic.NetGalley/Algonquin BooksDystopian. July 9, 2019. Print length: 329 pages.
    more
Write a review