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The Lightest Object in the Universe

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,248 ratings  ·  450 reviews
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
Hardcover, 325 pages
Published July 9th 2019 by Algonquin Books
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Lorendia I loved Parable of the Shower, and I loved this book. They both weave in a bit of spirit/faith - but in very different ways. What they do have in comm…moreI loved Parable of the Shower, and I loved this book. They both weave in a bit of spirit/faith - but in very different ways. What they do have in common: that we should look to the youth to guide us home.(less)
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Carol That's exactly how I saw it. It cemented in my mind when I read about her seeing things...…moreThat's exactly how I saw it. It cemented in my mind when I read about her seeing things...(less)

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Jul 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dystopian fans, & those that enjoy a good love story
Recommended to Paula by: Publisher
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
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I love post apocalyptic books. I have read my fair share and unfortunately some do not stand out and feel like every other one. It was sadly the case for me with this one.

In the beginning I was getting vibes of "Station Eleven" and even "The Stand" but by the middle point I was bored and struggled to finish the book. I was able to finish it by trying the audiobook but even then I struggled the concentrate.

Gorgeous Cover but forgettable.
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Is there hope when all seems lost?

Carson believes the answer is yes. In a post apocalyptic world, where the government no longer exists and society is a shell of what it once was, Carson has something to live for. A former Principal and History Teacher living in New York, Carson has a destination. San Francisco. For that is where she is: Beatrix.

Beatrix is a Fair Trade advocate who has always stood up for what she believes in. Returning to San Francisco from Mexico she discovers that the life
Karen’s Library
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
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Set in the near future, government and society has effectively crumbled in the aftermath of a pandemic and technological collapse. This book takes place after the dust has started to settle and people turn themselves to the process of building anew.

Rather than epic, Eisele focuses the story on two main characters, Carson and Beatrix, and the people who make up their worlds. Before the collapse school principal Carson and fair trade activist Beatrix had recently met and were taking the f
Scooter McDermitt
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
It's the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine

For 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,
October 08, 2020: Seems like there's only so much one should expect from a dystopian sci-fi after so many have already left a good mark in the recent past. The only bit I can appreciate with enough heart is the writing since it has a hypnotic tone to actually transfer you through the timelines and into a future so worse. But there's nothing different enough from a list of 'all things you would find in a dystopian sci-fi'.

There's the usual differing moralities of the main character and their lov
Brittany McCann
Meh... I read Year One too recently before this one and the Stand not that long ago. This was somewhat of a doing the same thing that's been done before but without much of a new arc other than the setting.

The dual narration is almost more confusing than contributing to the story. The settings don't even seem different enough to be in different locations, which is supposed to be a considerable part of the plot. Ultimately I just got bored with the pace and the lack of exciting elements to keep
Amy Imogene Reads
4 stars

A quiet tale focused on the rebuilding aspect of a post-apocalyptic reality, this novel was a memorable addition to the genre.

Writing: ★★★★
Plot: ★★★ 1/2
Enjoyment: ★★★★

First off, I'm not usually a reader of post-apocalyptic fiction. I don't like novels focused on the end of times, death, destruction, and the lack of hope—I tend to like more escape in my fiction, and to me the plot tends to not outweigh the personal stress I feel while reading it!

The Lightest Object in the Universe isn't a
It's so light that it practically floats

The Lightest Object in the Universe is a gentle tale about a future world where modern society just stops functioning. No more internet. No more power plants polluting the air. Forget traffic. People use bicycles. Forget overpopulation. The influenza epidemic took care of that. Let's just farm and trade, fair trade only. No zombies. No aliens. No desperate hordes. And, you know what, there was nothing really compelling about the story. There just wasn't an
Sep 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Another near-future fiction with a thinly-veiled political agenda, The Lightest Object in the Universe is as crunchy a post-apocalyptic vision as they come. Although a post-collapse Bay Area where all central government control ceases to exist a matter of mere months after an oil shock doesn't hold up to scrutiny, artist and activist Eisele is not that linear a thinker. It doesn't matter a whole lot, because she has some thoughtful characters and many interesting ideas. The novel can get damnabl ...more
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to Algonquin Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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Faith Hurst-Bilinski
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
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.
I've watched a LOT of show with this premise of the-end-of-the-world, no electricity, no money, riots and violence everywhere. Dystopian stories fascinate me. But this one hit close. Too close. It felt REAL, and it scared me a lot... I don't know if it's because of the current pandemic, but the scenario felt so plausible, it made me anxious and question everything, like what skill would I be able to trade if I was in their situation?

And... would my boyfriend walk 3,000 miles to come see me?

Dec 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
I love a good post apocalyptic novel, where huge catastrophes force people to dig deep to survive , and hopefully develop their humanity, strength, and character.

This novel starts out slowly , which is ok. Most of the characters have no charm, nothing really happens, and the writing is bland and squishy like Wonder Bread.

The mc’s is BeatriX, who used to create fair trade arrangements in third world countries and who, all in all, leads a scrupulously consciousness life. This should be admirable,
Sarah Marie
Check out my blog tour post in which I wrote a five-point essay about the importance of the post-apocalyptic genre and how this novel's themes fit into those categories.

3 stars. I didn't dislike this one, but I was not a big fan of the story or the characters. I just felt very detached from it. Review to come.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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
May 20, 2021 rated it really liked it

Received this in my September 2020 Caffeine & Legends Box! Check out my unboxing on Instagram here.

I've been slowly working my way through my Caffeine & Legends books and I've enjoyed every one of them. This one definitely hit a different way as it's an apocalyptic/cli-fi type story. So like sometimes a bit depressing.

The main plot line is about seeing if Carson and Beatrix will reunite after the environmental disaster that's caused everyday society to break down. They're on opposite coa
Cyndi Becker
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I'm not a big reader of sci fi/ end of days stories, but I seem to love the few I've "read" via audible (books like: The Age of Miracles, The Dreamers which I actually read - okay so maybe the theme there is the author Karen Thompson Walker ) but I digress.

The Lightest Object in the Universe is one I must add to this list. First, the story is completely captivating. And secondly, the audible is perfectly produced, with distinct voices from the myriad of characters who create this new society.
Amanda McClendon
Nov 29, 2019 rated it liked it
It reads like a white liberal version of the apocalypse (and no mistake that our two star-crossed lovers in this book are, in fact, white liberals): The nation falls as a result of its consumption, and the solution is to come together and rebuild community by using our skills to help each other survive. It's almost a little too neat, a little too idealistic.

And yet.

I kept reading, because under it all, there is love between these people, and there is hope, even though the world's been shot to he
Apr 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
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 ...more
Jun 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you Algonquin for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Lightest Object In The Universe
By: Kimi Eisele

I love dystopian and speculative fiction, so The Lightest Object In The Universe was the ideal read for me.

"Onto the typography of change and despair came the darkness. There were neither prescriptions nor predictions. Grief and pain could make you either cruel or generous; the only common denominator was loss."

Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


I fully admit, I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic fare. Even know as they often hit way too close to home, I still gravitate to them. So it makes sense that I was eager to read this one. And it delivered! So let's talk about why!

►It was, at its core, hopeful. Yes, that may seem an odd way to describe an end-of-days book, but it was! Even when I wasn't sure how things would turn o
Marti (Letstalkaboutbooksbaybee)
Thanks to Algonquin for sending me a copy to read and review.

Haha reading about the world shutting down during a global pandemic is a Choice™️, but I thought the premise of this one sounded so interesting I couldn’t resist saying yes when Algonquin reached out to me. I love the idea of two people trying to find each other again after all means of communication shut down. Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. I felt like the characters lacked depth and there was just so much dialogue in t
Tammy Moran
Aug 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
Eisels post apocalyptic America is preposterous. Our real world lives are way more challenging and dangerous and thus: more interesting. (Author is either a product of homeschooling or of privilege...or both.) I guess the super-flu only killed off conservatives, the alt right and anarchists?

The prologue describing the fall of America is plausible only because all the evils of destruction are on deck: climate change + financial crash + epidemic + cyber attack = government collapse. Unfortunately
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.
Betty Stauffer
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I questioned if I wanted to read a book where the world as we know it has collapsed even as we struggle through COVID 19. But I’m so glad that I did. This is a book about hope and love and the best of humanity. An excellent read.
Crystal Zavala
The Lightest Object in the Universe focuses on what happens after the global economy collapses and the electrical grid goes down. A flu spreads across the US, a cult leader tries to draw people in, while families and loved ones are trying to get back to each other.
Kimi Eisele is a beautiful writer. I had no trouble envisioning her characters and their locations. The predominate characters are Beatrix, Carson, and Rosie. Beatrix was an activist. She was my least favorite character, she came acros
Jul 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Caitlin Tremblay
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
What I loved most about this book is how, despite conflicts and arguments, the main thread is love and connection. With the internet it’s easy to feel “connected” to people you care about at all times but are you really? In this novel there’s no internet, no infrastructure—all that’s left are the connections they had before the grid went down and the connections they make while trying to survive and rebuild.
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Kimi Eisele is the author of The Lightest Object in the Universe, a novel. Her work has appeared in Longreads, Guernica,, High Country News, Orion, Fourth Genre, and other publications. She holds a master’s degree in geography from the University of Arizona, where in 1998 she founded You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography. Also a performing and visual artist, her work has been ...more

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Lori Hettler is the founder and moderator of The Next Best Book Club, one of the most popular groups on Goodreads, and has been a reader and...
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