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Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine Audiobook, by Alan Lightman Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Alan Lightman Narrator: Bronson Pinchot Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2018 ISBN: 9781538489772
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From the acclaimed author of Einstein’s Dreams, an inspired, lyrical meditation on religion and science, with an exploration of the tension between our yearning for permanence and certainty versus modern scientific discoveries pointing to the impermanent and uncertain nature of the world

As a physicist, Alan Lightman has always held a purely scientific view of the world. Even as a teenager, experimenting in his own laboratory, he was impressed by the logic and materiality of the universe, which is governed by a small number of disembodied forces and laws. Those laws decree that all things in the world are material and impermanent. But one summer evening, while looking at the stars from a small boat at sea, Lightman was overcome by the overwhelming sensation that he was merging with something larger than himself—a grand and eternal unity, a hint of something absolute and immaterial.

Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine is the result of these seemingly contradictory impulses, written as an extended meditation on an island in Maine, where Lightman and his wife spend their summers. Framing the dialogue between religion and science as a contrast between absolutes and relatives, Lightman explores our human quest for truth and meaning and the different methods of religion and science in that quest. Along the way, he draws from sources ranging from St. Augustine’s conception of absolute truth to Einstein’s relativity, from a belief in the divine and eternal nature of stars to their discovered materiality and mortality, from the unity of the once indivisible atom to the multiplicity of subatomic particles and the recent notion of multiple universes.

What emerges is not only an understanding of the encounter between science and religion but also a profound exploration of the complexity of human existence.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This interesting work is adroitly narrated by Bronson Pinchot, whose soft voice and deliberate pacing match the text perfectly—it is almost as if one is having a conversation with the author about things both physical and spiritual… Pinchot’s confident, soft delivery and intonation deliberately engage listeners and hold their attention throughout.”


  • “A delightful collection of essays…His elegant and evocative prose draws in the reader, and I felt as if I were strolling alongside the author.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “Lightman is to be admired for his willingness to take off his scientist’s hat and plunge into preoccupations most of his peers would strenuously avoid, some for fear of ridicule. Once again, this deft wordsmith has effortlessly straddled the divide between the hardest of the hard sciences and the nebulous world of existential doubts and longings.”


  • “Science needs its poets, and Alan Lightman is the perfect amalgam of scientist and humanist…Searching for Stars on an Island in Maine is an elegant and moving paean to…the search for something deeper in the materialist worldview of the scientist.

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Demonstrates Lightman’s ability to make the most abstract notions accessible to all. No background is needed in physics, philosophy, religion, or any other field to fully understand every step of the wide-ranging intellectual trek.”

    Washington Post

  • “Contemplative, elegant, and open-minded…an engaging companion to understanding our longing for connection with the infinite.”

    Post and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina)

  • “Lightman gives us vast, complicated subjects in lucid, engaging prose.”

    Politics & Prose

  • “Lightman mesmerizes in this collection of essays that explores the connections between scientific ideas and the wider world.…More philosophy of science than hard science, this is a volume meant for savoring.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • From Newton and Galileo to Einstein and Aristotle, from St. Augustine and the Buddha to contemporary theological thought, Lightman presents a distilled but comprehensive survey of the search for meaning.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “These personal and historical essays on religion, science, and religion-and-science are assembled to draw the reader ever deeper in…An illuminating, deeply human book.”


  • “[Lightman] weaves the writings of poets, scientists, and religious scholars as he explores the boundaries of the known (and unknown) world…Both believers and nonbelievers will find much to ponder in this discussion of science and religion, which reads like a soothing meditation.”

    Library Journal

  • “Deceptively brilliant, Alan Lightman’s prose is so simple and graceful that it can be easy to miss the quiet, deep sophistication of his approach to the fraught topic of science and religion.”

    Professor Edward J. Hall, chair, department of philosophy, Harvard University

  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week
  • A #1 bestseller in metaphysics
  • Finalist for the 2018 New England Book Award for nonfiction

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About the Author

Author Alan Lightman

Alan Lightman is the author of several novels, including Einstein’s Dreams, a New York Times and international bestseller, and The Diagnosis, a finalist for the 2000 National Book Award. He is also the author of several collections of essays and numerous books on science. His work has appeared in the Atlantic, Granta, the New Yorker, the New York Review of Books, and Nature, among many other publications. A theoretical physicist as well as a writer, he has served on the faculties of Harvard and MIT, where he was the first person to receive a dual faculty appointment in science and the humanities.

About the Narrator

Bronson Pinchot, an Audie Award–winning narrator and Audible’s Narrator of the Year for 2010, received his education at Yale University, which filled out what he had already received at his mother’s knee in the all-important areas of Shakespeare, Greek art and architecture, and the Italian Renaissance. He restores Greek Revival buildings and appears in television, film, and on stage whenever the pilasters and entablatures overwhelm him.