The well-worn lair of the world’s most literary neurologist bespeaks a restless spirit that all but says, “Yeah, I’ve been at this awhile.” A vintage, multicolor Chart of Electromagnetic Radiation dominates one wall; it looks like something you’d find in a gargantuan pack of chewing gum. On a table sits a pencil sharpener that looks more like a microscope. “It’s not even terribly functional,” he chuckles during a visit earlier this year. “It’s sort of a pencil sharpener cubed.”
At 79, Sacks’ eyesight is fading, as he chronicled in his 2010 book The Mind’s Eye. But his curiosity and empathy, immortalized in the 1990 Robert De Niro-Robin Williams movie Awakenings, remains unquenched. His new book, Hallucinations (Knopf, $26.95), seeks to destigmatize the experiences of those who see what isn’t there. Much like his famous collection The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Hallucinations mixes case studies of Sacks’ patients and acquaintances with scientific history and philosophy.
Via Mary Daniels Brown