“The warm genius of Oliver Sacks comes alive as he tackles everything from memory to Freud’s little-known contributions to neurology, Darwin’s love of flowers and the nature of creativity.”
The River of Consciousness
Two weeks before his death, Oliver Sacks outlined the contents of The River of Consciousness, the last book he would oversee . . . The bestselling author of On the Move, Musicophilia, and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Sacks is known for his illuminating case histories about people living with neurological conditions at the far borderlands of human experience. But his grasp of science was not restricted to neuroscience or medicine; he was fascinated by the issues, ideas, and questions of all the sciences. That wide-ranging expertise and passion informs the perspective of this book, in which he interrogates the nature not only of human experience but of all life.
In The River of Consciousness, Dr. Sacks takes on evolution, botany, chemistry, medicine, neuroscience, and the arts, and calls upon his great scientific and creative heroes – above all, Darwin, Freud, and William James. For Sacks, these thinkers were constant companions from an early age; the questions they explored – the meaning of evolution, the roots of creativity, and the nature of consciousness – lie at the heart of science and of this book.
The River of Consciousness demonstrates Sacks’s unparalleled ability to make unexpected connections, his sheer joy in knowledge, and his unceasing, timeless endeavor to understand what makes us human.
“I rejoice in the knowledge of my biological uniqueness and my biological antiquity and my biological kinship with all other forms of life. This knowledge roots me, allows me to feel at home in the natural world, to feel that I have my own sense of biological meaning, whatever my role in the cultural, human world.” ―Oliver Sacks
Praise for The River of Consciousness
A joy to read: a delicious supply of information and commentary organized by a gifted writer of a curious and humane intelligence.” —The Washington Times
“Charming and informative….What really unifies “The River of Consciousness” is the unique combination of intellectual rigor and childlike amazement, of bookishness and warmth, which characterizes all of Sacks’s writing. Which other writer who employs footnotes so liberally also so often inspires laughter and tears?” —The Boston Globe
“Fans of the late neurologist have another chance to enjoy this erudite, compassionate storyteller, essayist, and memoirist in what may be his final work. This collection of 10 essays, some of which appeared previously in the New York Review of Books, was assembled by three colleagues from an outline provided by Sacks two weeks before his death in 2015….A collection of dissimilar pieces that reveal the scope of the author’s interests—sometimes challenging, always rewarding.” —Kirkus Reviews
[The] combination of wonder, passion and gratitude never seemed to flag in Sacks’s life; everything he wrote was lit with it. But it was his openness to new ideas and experiences, and his vision of change as the most human of biological processes, that synthesized all of his work.” —Nicole Krauss, The New York Times Book Review