"A General Feeling of Disorder", "A Leg to Stand On", "Awakenings", "My Own Life", "On the Move", "The Mind's Eye", 'The Many Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat", author, neurologist, Oliver Sacks, Uncle Tungsten"
If you ‘know of’ Oliver Sacks, have read one or more of his 12 previous books, then the picture above might be a bit surprising to you.
Usually, the pictures we see of this neurologist/author portray quite a different image.
More like this picture to your right:
As you may know, Sacks is a prolific writer, using cases from his work with a variety of patients to describe a world that most of us do not know, a world where anomalies of the brain lead to behaviors and lives that often seem strange, at least until Sacks explains them to us.
As you also may know, Oliver Sacks is dying of terminal cancer, as he announced in an eloquent and affecting NYTimes column, My Own Life, three months ago (although since writing that piece in February, he wrote a second column in April, A General Feeling of Disorder, NY Review of Books, and seems to have ‘rallied’ and may be with us for a while longer).
I have long been intrigued by Sacks’ work, his writings, his findings, and by the man himself. Thus, when his 13th book, a memoir, On the Move: A Life, was published several weeks ago, I, of course, read it immediately.
Some of what we read in this memoir is familiar as he has written about himself previously (particularly in his Uncle Tugsten and in his A Leg to Stand On). We know he is a doctor, a scientist, an author, and above all an advocate for (our) understanding strange behaviors and listening to the lives of (his) patients.
But there is much that is new also.