Who is better qualified to guide us into the most essential time of aging, dying, and death than Oliver Sacks, renowned neurologist, professor, and author? Perhaps best known for his autobiographical book-turned-movie, Awakenings, Sacks led a rich and challenging life, both professionally and personally—a life he let us witness through masterful storytelling right up until his death. This collection of essays, written just before and right after his terminal diagnosis, is an unflinching, yet ultimately compassionate, view of our fragile human condition. Abundantly simple, he writes, "I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude." -Seth— From Winter Gazette 2015
-My predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved. I have been given much and I have given something in return. Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.-
No writer has succeeded in capturing the medical and human drama of illness as honestly and as eloquently as Oliver Sacks.
During the last few months of his life, he wrote a set of essays in which he movingly explored his feelings about completing a life and coming to terms with his own death.
-It is the fate of every human being, - Sacks writes, -to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.-
Together, these four essays form an ode to the uniqueness of each human being and to gratitude for the gift of life.
-Oliver Sacks was like no other clinician, or writer. He was drawn to the homes of the sick, the institutions of the most frail and disabled, the company of the unusual and the 'abnormal.' He wanted to see humanity in its many variants and to do so in his own, almost anachronistic way--face to face, over time, away from our burgeoning apparatus of computers and algorithms. And, through his writing, he showed us what he saw.-
--Atul Gawande, author of Being Mortal
About the Author
OLIVER SACKS was born in 1933 in London and was educated at Queen's College, Oxford. He completed his medical training at San Francisco's Mount Zion Hospital and at UCLA before moving to New York, where he soon encountered the patients whom he would write about in his book Awakenings. Dr. Sacks spent almost fifty years working as a neurologist and wrote many books, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, and Hallucinations, about the strange neurological predicaments and conditions of his patients. The New York Times referred to him as -the poet laureate of medicine, - and over the years he received many awards, including honors from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Royal College of Physicians. His memoir, On the Move, was published shortly before his death in August 2015. For more information, please visit www.oliversacks.com.