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Publisher's Summary

In this luminous memoir, an MIT astrophysicist must reinvent herself in the wake of tragedy and discovers the power of connection on this planet, even as she searches our galaxy for another Earth. 

“Sara Seager’s exploration of outer and inner space makes for a stunningly original memoir.” (Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone)

Sara Seager has always been in love with the stars: so many lights in the sky, so much possibility. Now a pioneering planetary scientist, she searches for exoplanets - especially that distant, elusive world that sustains life. But with the unexpected death of Seager’s husband, the purpose of her own life becomes hard for her to see. 

Suddenly, at 40, she is a widow and the single mother of two young boys. For the first time, she feels alone in the universe. 

As she struggles to navigate her life after loss, Seager takes solace in the alien beauty of exoplanets and the technical challenges of exploration. At the same time, she discovers earthbound connections that feel every bit as wondrous, when strangers and loved ones alike reach out to her across the space of her grief. 

Among them are the Widows of Concord, a group of women offering advice on everything from home maintenance to dating, and her beloved sons, Max and Alex. Most unexpected of all, there is another kind of one-in-a-billion match, not in the stars but here at home. 

Probing and invigoratingly honest, The Smallest Lights in the Universe is its own kind of light in the dark. 

©2020 Sara Seager (P)2020 Random House Audio

What listeners say about The Smallest Lights in the Universe

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A battle between logic and emotions

I initially heard about this story on a CBC interview with the author, Sarah Seager. The easiest way to describe this book is thinking about it as a coin. One side encompassing logic, scientific method and the pursuit of the astrological unknowns. The other side contrasting with the emotional expanse of love, loss and forgiveness from the damage caused by losing a loved one. This memoir exemplifies the entire spectrum of intelligence and emotion and a brilliant woman's journey through her academic and vocational achievements; accompanied by surprisingly transparent glimpse into the personal and intimate interactions and circumstances surrounding Seager's late husband battle with cancer.

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Inspiring

Finished this book in a few days, couldnt put it down. Saras ability to overcome tragedy and her determination to seek out and discover new planets was such an inspiring story.

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Excellent.

Couldn't stop listening. This is my first audiobook that I finished. Inspiring, well done. Sara has so much strength, stamina and is so brilliant.

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  • sabin
  • 2020-08-19

Wonderfully candid, radically hopeful

This beautifully crafted astronomical allegory was one of the most relatable memoirs I’ve ever read. Not only was it an objectively fascinating story, it also made me feel all of my feelings.

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  • Hannah Crazyhawk
  • 2020-09-16

Exceptional and Eloquent!

The Smallest Lights in the Universe is an eloquent, poetic, and beautiful story. Sara Seager writes with grace and style about her loves, her losses, and her joys. She also illustrates what being a woman in STEM is like and brings a strong voice to us all. I was sad when I finished this book. I personally related to Sara's journey and this comforted me. The Smallest Lights in the Universe was a constant companion for my first two chemotherapy infusions. I will miss peering into the lovely world of Sara Seager. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read this book. It helped me not feel so alone. "Everything brave has to start somewhere..." - Sara Seager

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  • Jeff Shaddock
  • 2020-10-12

A wonderful life in the sciences

This is a wonderful listen for so many reasons: the narration matches the feelings the author wants to convey perfectly; the blend between the author's life and her life in the sciences is perfect. I teared up several times as the story pulled me in and along for a wonderful ride that starts with the author's self-reflection and led to a lot of my own. You won't be disappointed if this is your next listen.

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  • Juuso Myllyrinne
  • 2020-10-12

Wonderful story about sadness and the stars

I’ve been a huge fan of Dr. Seager’s work for years, but this deeply personal story really made me appreciate her even more. It’s a candid story of a long dark march from despair to at least relative happiness. So grateful that i bumped into this book.

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  • Hunter Beltz
  • 2020-10-05

Amazing story

Such a sad book that gives so much hope and attention to how much life Truly means. I never cry and I was holding back tears in a bus station at some parts.

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  • Emily van den Berg
  • 2020-11-10

A beautiful journey

This book was about so much more than just astronomy and space exploration. It was a book about the internal and external struggles of a brilliant astrophysicist trying to find a way to discover the possibilities of both space and within her own life. I was hooked from the beginning as I've always had an interest in space, but her personal struggles gave me insight into the true meaning behind her explorations.

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  • J. S. Harbour
  • 2020-10-27

A gripping read for science fans

This autobiography by Sara Seager was gripping and fascinating. I've followed the progress of her field and devices like Kepler over the years and was pleased to learn so much about the field from Sara's life story. She endured much hardship and pain but persevered and made great accomplishments in science. I did not like the narrator. Her breathless almost-crying performance was an irritating and incorrect portrayal of the author.