On My Bookshelf

The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks 


From Amazon.com: In his most extraordinary book, “one of the great clinical writers of the 20th century” (The New York Times) recounts the case histories of patients lost in the bizarre, apparently inescapable world of neurological disorders. Oliver Sacks’s The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat tells the stories of individuals afflicted with fantastic perceptual and intellectual aberrations: patients who have lost their memories and with them the greater part of their pasts; who are no longer able to recognize people and common objects; who are stricken with violent tics and grimaces or who shout involuntary obscenities; whose limbs have become alien; who have been dismissed as retarded yet are gifted with uncanny artistic or mathematical talents.

If inconceivably strange, these brilliant tales remain, in Dr. Sacks’s splendid and sympathetic telling, deeply human. They are studies of life struggling against incredible adversity, and they enable us to enter the world of the neurologically impaired, to imagine with our hearts what it must be to live and feel as they do. A great healer, Sacks never loses sight of medicine’s ultimate responsibility: “the suffering, afflicted, fighting human subject.”

I’m not sure what has spawned my current interest in neurological disorders and conundrums, but Dr. Sacks has me hooked. I loved Hallucinations, loved The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, and I have Awakenings on my bookshelf ready to start next. I think I will continue working my way through his publications for a while – it should take up my actual-physical-book reading for a while [at work, I’m listening to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series audiobooks, a series I’ve never paid much attention to until now – to my detriment!].


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