Insomniac City by Bill Hayes
New York, Oliver, and Me

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Hayes has now written a memoir of his own, “Insomniac City.” It’s a loving tribute to Sacks and to New York. He provides tender insights into living with both. But Sacks was by far the more eccentric of his two loves.
-NY Times

Synopsis

A moving celebration of what Bill Hayes calls "the evanescent, the eavesdropped, the unexpected" of life in New York City, and an intimate glimpse of his relationship with the late Oliver Sacks.

"A beautifully written once-in-a-lifetime book, about love, about life, soul, and the wonderful loving genius Oliver Sacks, and New York, and laughter and all of creation."--Anne Lamott

Bill Hayes came to New York City in 2009 with a one-way ticket and only the vaguest idea of how he would get by. But, at forty-eight years old, having spent decades in San Francisco, he craved change. Grieving over the death of his partner, he quickly discovered the profound consolations of the city's incessant rhythms, the sight of the Empire State Building against the night sky, and New Yorkers themselves, kindred souls that Hayes, a lifelong insomniac, encountered on late-night strolls with his camera.

And he unexpectedly fell in love again, with his friend and neighbor, the writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks, whose exuberance--"I don't so much fear death as I do wasting life," he tells Hayes early on--is captured in funny and touching vignettes throughout. What emerges is a portrait of Sacks at his most personal and endearing, from falling in love for the first time at age seventy-five to facing illness and death (Sacks died of cancer in August 2015). Insomniac City is both a meditation on grief and a celebration of life. Filled with Hayes's distinctive street photos of everyday New Yorkers, the book is a love song to the city and to all who have felt the particular magic and solace it offers.

 

About Bill Hayes

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Bill Hayes is the author of the national bestseller Sleep Demons: An Insomniac’s Memoir and Five Quarts: A Personal and Natural History of Blood. His work has been published in The New York Times Magazine and Details, among other publications, and at Salon.com. He has also been featured on many NPR programs as well as the Discovery Health Channel. He lives in San Francisco. Visit the author’s website at www.bill-hayes.com.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published February 14, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA. 300 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Travel, Gay & Lesbian, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Insomniac City
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Senior on Feb 08 2017

Hayes has now written a memoir of his own, “Insomniac City.” It’s a loving tribute to Sacks and to New York. He provides tender insights into living with both. But Sacks was by far the more eccentric of his two loves.

Read Full Review of Insomniac City: New York, Oli... | See more reviews from NY Times

Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Edmund White on Apr 06 2017

The book is what’s called “reader-friendly”, that is, there’s lots of white space, plenty of photos and not too many long grey columns of type. Overheard remarks, curious reflections by Sacks, poetic observations keep the narrative moving along.

Read Full Review of Insomniac City: New York, Oli... | See more reviews from Guardian

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