A sweet essay on the second posthumous book by Oliver Sachs is presently published in New York Review of Books, (June 6 issue). The article by Simon Callow is Truth, Beauty and Oliver Sachs. Callow’s article is nearly as good as reading Sachs himself.
It probably means it will be necessary to read Sachs’ Everything in Its Place, First Loves and Last Tales. Where on earth will my stack of books end?
Reading authors like Sachs reminds me of a primary purpose of books, mainly to touch other people with an infectious joy of consciousness. Sachs is the neurologist champion of all the ways of the human brain. Sachs’ writing stands in my mind alongside Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation and Stephen Jay Gould’s Wonderful Life, The Burgess Shale and Nature of History. Sachs approaches the subject of existence with a sideways curiosity, humble and compelling. No doubt spending time in his presence was its own reward. His breakthrough book (yes, it seems neurologists can have breakthrough books) has as its title, The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat.
If it hadn’t already been taken, I might have tried writing a story just for the title. Safe travels, Oliver.